London, South Kensington
22 September 2004
MERRILL, James Ingram (1926-1995). The Black Swan and Other Poems. Athens: M. Myrtidis for Icaros, 1946. 4° (214 x 164mm). 'Black Swan' title vignette after Ghika. Original printed wrappers, upper wrapper with 'Black Swan' design after Ghika printed in red and black, lower wrapper with publisher's device, glassine dustwrapper, later box with gilt calf lettering-piece (partial light fading to wrappers, dustwrapper fore-edges pasted onto versos of wrappers). Provenance: Quentin Keynes (presentation inscription on front free endpaper 'For Quentin Keynes , on the hottest day of July. , James Merrill. , (30th. '47)').
FIRST EDITION, NO. 81 OF 100 COPIES. PRESENTATION COPY INSCRIBED TO QUENTIN KEYNES BY MERRILL. The Black Swan was Merrill's second book (preceded by Jim's Book, which was privately printed for Merrill by his father in an edition of 200 copies), and was privately printed by Kimon Friar, Merrill's poetry tutor at Amherst and his first lover, to whom the work is dedicated. One of the rarities of post-war American poetry, the present copy of The Black Swan was inscribed to Quentin Keynes the year that Merrill won the Oscar Blumenthal Prize for his work. First Printings of American Authors 2, 257; Hagstrom and Bixby James Merrill A2a.
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