11 October 2002
YEATS, William Butler. Responsibilities: Poems and A Play. Churchtown, Dundrum: The Cuala Press, 1914.
8o. Original cloth-backed printed boards, with ticket of Galwey & Co. (small stain on front cover, spine lightly soiled); glassine dust jacket. Provenance: Lennox Robinson (presentation inscription; note transcribing Yeat's inscription laid-in; bookplate dated June 1914); Eleanor and Fred Reid (bookplate designed by Jack Yeats tipped over Robinson's).
FIRST EDITION, LIMITED ISSUE, number 169 of 400 copies. PRESENTATION COPY, INSCRIBED BY YEATS TO LENNOX ROBINSON on the verso of the front flyleaf: "'Is that a night cry for an eagle cock?' WB Yeats. May 30. 1914."
Robinson began his lifelong service to the Abbey Theatre in 1909 when Yeats asked him to sign on as director and stage manager. Yeats wrote to Lady Gregory on 15 April 1909: "It is Robinson who has roused the enthusiasm [for a production of Heather Field at the Abbey]. I doubt if we have produced anything which has excited people quite so much. The young man told my sisters that it was Cathleen-ni-Houlihan that changed his politics and also set him writing, so I should share his enthusiasm but I don't. At the same time he is far beyond Boyle or Casey in force. He is a serious intellect and may grow to be a great dramatist. He is only 22..." (Yeats, Letters, ed. Allen Wade, NY, 1955, p.527).
Robinson did in fact go on to success at the Abbey, with his plays The Whiteheaded Boy (1916) and The Far-Off Hills (1928) perhaps his most popular. Yeats and Robinson were friends for more than 20 years, and in 1921 Yeats asked Robinson to be godfather to his first child, Michael Butler. Responsibilities shows Yeats under the influence of his then-secretary Ezra Pound, breaking away from his early manner and beginning to write more clearly and directly. Connolly, The Modern Movement 24; Wade 110.
Contact Client Service
New York +1 212 636 2000
London +44 (0)20 7839 9060
Asia +852 2760 1766
The Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale totals £128,081,750, with works by Picasso and a record-breaking Franz Marc painting also achieving top prices
Alastair Smart profiles the life and work of the Pre-Raphaelite artist described by Burne-Jones as ‘the best of us all’ — illustrated with works offered in July