James S. Jaffe Rare Books, LLC

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Duineser Elegien

RILKE, Rainer Maria Large 4to, original pale blue paper covered boards, matching publisher's slipcase. Boards faded, but a very good copy. Boards faded, but a very good copy First edition of Rilke's Duino Elegies, arguably the greatest work of lyric poetry of the twentieth century.Large-paper issue, of which 300 numbered copies were printed in red and black on hand-made Zanders watermarked paper by Tiemann-Antiqua von Gebr, the first 100 copies of which were bound in full green morocco, with the remaining 200 copies issued in either quarter morocco and boards or in pale blue boards, as here.Huenich p. 92. Ritzer E9. Rilke's poems, especially his Duino Elegies & Sonnets To Orpheus, are among the most precious legacies of twentieth century literature. The story of the creation of Rilke's two masterpieces is legendary: how the first words came to him in the sea wind on the rocks outside Duino Castle in 1912; & how, after a hiatus of ten years, Rilke completed not only the Duino Elegies, only two of which had been written at the time, but wrote the entire fifty-nine Sonnets To Orpheus within the space of a month in Muzot, Switzerland, in 1922. To those for whom poetry has long ceased to be the fatuous rhetoric of public performance, the compelling intimacy of Rilke's poems represents the true essence of poetry. As Robert Hass has written: That voice of Rilke's poems, calling us out of ourselves, or calling us into the deepest places in ourselves, is very near to what people mean by poetry. (Looking For Rilke). As William Gass, the most recent translator & guide to Rilke, put it: . his work has taught me what real art ought to be; how it can matter to a life through its lifetime; how commitment can course like blood through the body of your words until the writing stirs, rises, opens its eyes; and, finally, because his work allows me to measure what we call achievement: how tall he is, how small mine. - Reading Rilke (N. Y.: 1999).
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A City Winter and Other Poems. Two Drawings by Larry Rivers

O'HARA, Frank 8vo, original decorated wrappers with printed paper label on front cover. In the present copy, the cover label has come detached, and is laid into this copy; there is light marginal wear to the blue wrappers; otherwise a very good copy. Although all copies of A City Winter are rare, we have seen three times as many copies of the deluxe hardbound issue as we have copies of the regular issue in its original blue wrappers . In the present copy, the cover label has come detached, and is laid into this copy; there is light marginal wear to the blue wrappers; otherwise a very good copy. Although all copies of A City Winter are rare, we have seen three times as many copies of the deluxe hardbound issue as we have copies of the regular issue in its original blue wrappers First edition of O'Hara's first book, the birth of the New York School of Poetry. One of 130 copies printed on French Arches paper out of a total edition of 150 copies (there were 20 copies on Japanese Kochi); this copy number 38. According to the colophon, A City Winter was published in March-April 1952 in an edition of 150 numbered copies, in two forms: a regular issue of 130 copies printed on French Arches paper [copies 21-150] and a deluxe issue printed on Japanese Kochi paper with an original drawing by Larry Rivers [copies 1-20]. However, according to Brad Gooch, 280 "folded paper" copies were printed in addition to the copies on Kochi paper. The regular issue, bound in blue paper wrappers, sold for $1.00; the deluxe hardbound issue on Kochi paper with an original drawing by Rivers for $20.00. Brad Gooch, City Poet: The Life and Times of Frank O'Hara (N. Y.: Alfred A. Knopf, 1993), p. 213. Not all of the copies in the regular issue were bound, a fact probably explained by the large over-run of 130 copies of the regular issue - twice the number specified in the colophon. These additional copies, for which there may not have been enough of the decorative blue paper used for the original wrappers, appear to have been distributed as unnumbered "folded paper" copies, that is, as "folded and gathered sheets". Of the copies that have come on the market in the past twenty-five years, the majority of copies have been in the form of unbound sheets.
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Four Quartets

ELIOT, T. S. 8vo, original cloth, dust jacket. . A fine copy in dust jacket that is a bit sunned along the spine, in a red cloth slipcase. . A fine copy in dust jacket that is a bit sunned along the spine, in a red cloth slipcase First English collected edition. One of 6000 copies printed. Gallup A43b. Presentation copy, inscribed on the front free endpaper "To The Master of Magdalene with the compliments of T. S. Eliot 9.x.44". According to Gallup, the book was published on Oct. 31st. At the time, the Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge, was Allen Ramsay, a poet of Latin verse, whose works include:Inter Lilia(1920),Ros Rosarum(1925),FrondesSalicis(1935),FlosMalvae(1946), andRos Maris(1954). Ramsay has been called "probably the most significant British Latin poet of the twentieth century". He also served as the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge, and ofCambridge University Cricket Club. Magdalene College owns the papers of Nicholas Ferrar, who moved to Little Gidding in 1626 and founded the informal spiritual community there that inspired the final poem in Eliot's Four Quartets. It was Ferrar to whom George Herbert, on his deathbed, gave the manuscript of The Temple, with instructions to burn it or publish the poems, if he felt they might "turn to the advantage of any dejected poor soul." Eliot preached a sermon, his first and only sermon, at Magdalene College in 1948, when he was made an honorary fellow of the College. In her will, Valerie Eliot donated her personal collection of Eliot's first editions to the College. This book was sold as Lot 625 in Part Three of the Goodwin Sale at Sotheby's, April 12, 1978, when it realized $475.00.
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ELIOT, T. S. An extensive collection of first editions of Eliot's work, approximately 150 books and periodicals, including the following: the first appearance of "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" in Poetry (June 1915); a very good copy of Ara VusPrec (Ovid Press, 1920); the first appearance of "The Waste Land" in The Dial (November 1922); the first copyright issue of Journey of the Magi (Rudge, 1927); limited signed editions of A Song for Simeon (1928), Animula (1929), Marina (1930) and Triumphal March (1931), as well as the limited signed edition of Ash Wednesday (1930); a near fine copy in dust jacket of the first edition of Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats (Faber, 1939); the original appearance of "East Coker" as a supplement to The New English Weekly, (Easter Number, 1940), two variant issues, with the second edition of the poem in The New English Weekly; a complete run of the first separate editions of East Coker (1940), Burnt Norton (1941), The Dry Salvages (1941), and Little Gidding (1942), with the first appearances of "The Dry Salvages" in The New English Weekly (February 27, 1941) and "Little Gidding" in The New English Weekly (October 15, 1942); the first impression of the first American (first book edition) of Four Quartets (1943); the limited signed edition of Four Quartets printed by the Officina Bodoni (1960); the limited signed edition of Religious Drama: Mediaeval and Modern (House of Books, 1954); numerous periodical appearances, and four vinyl recordings of Eliot reading his poems. Although lacking the most expensive of Eliot's first editions, the collection represents a substantial and bibliographically significant selection of the poet's publications. The majority of books are in very good condition. A detailed list is available. The majority of books are in very good condition. A detailed list is available.
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Requiem

AKHMATOVA, Anna 8vo, frontispiece portrait, original printed white wrappers. A fine copy, preserved in a folding cloth box. A fine copy, preserved in a folding cloth box First edition of Akhmatova's masterpiece, first published in this form in the West, without the poet's knowledge, fourteen years prior to its publication in the Soviet Union in the journal Novyi mir in April 1987. "From 1925 until 1940, there was an unofficial ban on the publication of Akhmatova's poetry. Akhmatova concentrated on scholarship, immersing herself in her critical studies of Pushkin. But in 1935, following the arrest of Nikolay Punin, the man she was living with, and Lev Gumilyov, her son, she began to compose the 15-part poetry and prose cycle Requiem. Not daring to write it down, she recited various parts to friends, including Lidiya Chukovskaya (Korney Chukovsky's daughter), who memorized and reassembled them. Requiem, a tribute to the ordeal of the victims of the Terror, and the women who waited in the prison lines hoping to get word of them, is based on her own experience in Leningrad, where Lev was imprisoned for 17 months. In this great cycle, the "you" becomes all Russians imprisoned and tortured by their own government. Requiem was finally published in the Soviet Union in April 1987, in the journal Novy mir, was included in a book of her poems, Anna Akhmatova, Ya - golos vash. (Anna Akhmatova, I - am your voice. Moscow 1989) and in subsequent editions of her work." - Judith Hemschemeyer, from her preface to The Complete Poems of Anna Akhmatova (Boston and Edinburgh, 1992). Assessing Akhmatova's unique place in Russian poetry, and the profound identification of the Russian people with her, and she with them, during the Stalinist period, Joseph Brodsky wrote: "At certain periods of history it is only poetry that is capable of dealing with reality by condensing it into something graspable, something that otherwise couldn't be retained by the mind. In that sense, the whole nation took up the pen name of Akhmatova." - Joseph Brodsky, The New York Public Library's Books of the Century, (Oxford University Press, 1996), p. 174.