[BUTTERFLY BOOK] SPENDER, Stephen. Perhaps. [N.p.], 1933. 4° (161 x 115mm). One gathering. 8pp: 1-2 blank, 3 title, 4-5 text, 6 colophon, 7-8 blank. Printed for Frederick Prokosch on grey laid paper, the printed leaves with chain lines running vertically, the unprinted with chain lines horizontal. White card cover (poorly trimmed), gold paper wrapper with title label on text paper, black thread. NUMBER IV OF 5 COPIES, of a total edition of 22 copies in five distinct sequences (there were also two out-of-series copies and at least one proof). SIGNED BY THE AUTHOR beneath the colophon. With a magazine cutting of Spender's poem 'The Shapes of Death' somewhat crudely pasted to rear turn-in of wrapper.
PRESENTATION COPY, with autograph letter from Spender to Ottoline Morrell, dated 'Jan 30 ', presenting the poem, 'of which a "fan" of mine in America printed me 20 copies'. With original posting envelope. Prokosch worked fast: the poem had first appeared in the New Statesman and Nation on 4 November 1933.
Although the letter authenticates the book as undoubtedly printed at the time stated, and not one of Prokosch's later auto-forgeries, this copy differs from the description given in Dossier 33 of Nicolas Barker's The Butterfly Books in several respects, though is almost certainly from the same setting of 12pt and 8pt Vogue (Intertype). Barker calls for six leaves; here there are four. He also calls for the poem to appear on a single page; here it occupies two.
In a letter in October 1933, Ottoline Morrell wrote 'The best of the young men is Stephen Spender. They are quite nice and charming his Poems, but nothing to Shout or Trumpet about' (Hugh David, Stephen Spender, p.149). Spender himself was nonplussed at one of Morrell's parties when W. B. Yeats asked him what he thought of 'the Sayers'. Spender replied that he had never read any, not realising that Yeats was referring to a group of poetry reciters. Morrell saw that he was a social failure and telephoned Virginia Woolf, asking her to come quickly in a taxi to save the situation (Spender, World Within World, p.163).