11 October 2002
AUDEN, W.H. The Dance of Death. London: Faber & Faber, 1933. 8o. (Endleaves lightly offset.) Original green printed boards (chipped at ends of spine affecting first word of title); printed dust jacket (some light edgewear). Provenance: Stephen Spender (1909-1995), British poet (presentation inscription; his later bookplate, including his wife Natasha's name).
FIRST EDITION, PRESENTATION COPY, INSCRIBED BY AUDEN TO STEPHEN SPENDER on the front free endpaper: "To Stephen, Tony with a satirist's sneer. Wystan Auden. Xmas 1933."
Rupert Doone commissioned Auden to write a full-length play after he'd founded the Group Theatre in London in 1933. Spender was inspired by his example and wrote Trial of a Judge; Spender's play was not produced until 1938. Bloomfield and Mendelson A4.
AUDEN, W.H. Look, Stranger!. London: Faber & Faber, 1936. 8o. Original grey cloth (small bump on spine); printed dust jacket (spine lightly faded). Provenance: Stephen Spender (presentation inscription).
FIRST EDITION, PRESENTATION COPY, INSCRIBED BY AUDEN TO SPENDER on the title: "For Stephen with love from Wystan."
Auden originally titled this volume Poems 1936. He sent alternate titles in response to T.S. Eliot's request--It's a Way and The Island, but they were not received from Iceland in time. Look, Stranger! was derived from the first line of poem V. Auden was furious and wrote to his American publisher at Random House: "Faber invented a bloody title whilst I was away without telling me. It sounds like the work of a vegetarian lady novelist. Will you please call the American edition On this Island." The collection received the King's Gold Medal for Poetry. Bloomfield and Mendelson A13a.
TWO VERY FINE ASSOCIATION COPIES, BOTH INSCRIBED BY AUDEN TO HIS CLOSE FRIEND STEPHEN SPENDER.
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The Plantin Polyglot bible — offered in London on 11 July — makes an emotional homecoming to the Antwerp printing press where it was produced some 450 years ago