BLYTH, R. H.

Zen in English Literature and Oriental Classics.

Tokyo: Hokuseido Press, 1942 Stock Code: 136184
£750.00

Presentation copy from Henry Miller

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Notes

First edition, first printing, presentation copy from Henry Miller to his lifelong friend Robert Carlock, inscribed on the front free endpaper: "For Bob Carlock - to read in moments of despair or desperation. From his ever grateful friend, Henry Miller, 10/8/56". Miller had a particular interest in Zen and Buddhism, and his Tropic of Cancer was perceived as such by Orwell who, visiting Miller in the 1930s Paris, was "struck by Miller's utter detachment from the politically charged climate of the day, and described Tropic of Cancer (1934) as written in 'a voice from the crowd, from the underling, from the third-class carriage, from the ordinary, non-political, non-moral, passive man' (Orwell 1953, p. 220)" (Normand).

This is Blyth's first Zen book, bringing an unprecedentedly fresh approach to English literature in considering it from a Zen perspective. Reginald Horace Blyth (1898-1964) was an English author and teacher who became the disciple of D. T. Suzuki. From 1936 he lived and worked in Japan - during the war he was interned as an enemy alien though he worked hard to encourage peaceful dialogue between Japan and the West, and was one of those who drafted Emperor Hirohito's official declaration that he was in fact human and not divine. After the war he became Professor of English at Gakushuin University, and did much during his life to popularise Japanese Haiku and Zen in the West. A remarkably well-preserved copy with interesting association.

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Description

Octavo. Original blue cloth, titles printed in black within red lines on paper title label to spine. With the dust jacket. Housed in custom dark blue cloth chemise, and marble-papered slipcase with titles in gilt on black calf spine label.

Illustrations

Frontispiece and 9 similar plates.

Condition

Spine a little sunned, mostly at foot of spine, marginal creasing to top corner of pp. 40-56. A near-fine copy in the fair dust jacket, spine ends and parts of front panel torn with loss to text, a few edge-splits.

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