Whipperginny.London: William Heinemann, Ltd, 1923 Stock Code: 119069
First edition, first impression, rare presentation copy inscribed "Edith Sitwell from Robert Graves and good luck! 1923" on the front free endpaper. Edith Sitwell (1887-1964) and her brothers Osbert and Sacheverell were at the time the darlings of the London literary scene. She was a friend of Graves in the 1920s and visited him in Islip. She admired his poetry, writing to him that "when I read your poems, I so often think of a very clear lake, and looking down through the lake to some shining beauty very far below, but most clearly seen."
The year of this presentation Sitwell put on the notorious avant garde performance of Façade at the Aeolian Hall, in which she recited her nonsense poems through a megaphone to the accompaniment of music by William Walton. The event was a success de scandale, with Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf, and Noel Coward (who walked out in disgust) in the audience. Graves's "good luck" may perhaps have been in anticipation of this event. He dedicated his Contemporary Techniques of Poetry to Sitwell two years later, but their friendship foundered when Graves left his wife for Laura Riding.
Whipperginny, which was printed in a small edition of 1,000 copies, is rare inscribed - we can trace only one other copy ever having appeared at auction, in 1994, and that without the dust jacket.
Octavo. Original pink and black patterned boards, red title label to spine and front board. With dust jacket.
Ends rubbed, light spotting to edges, an excellent copy with the dust jacket with loss to the spine panel and a section detached, but still intact, smaller chips to the edges and fore-corners.
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