Norwich, Vermont: Elysium Press, 1995. Limited Edition. Hardcover. One of 200 copies, octavo size, 55 pp., with prospectus and publisher's box. Fine. Item #19052008
British socialite Stephen James Napier Tennant (1906-1987), known for his idle and decadent lifestyle, was one of the "Bright Young People", a bohemian group of young aristocrats who received much publicity for their lavish parties and overall luxurious way of life. Tennant was a prominent figure in this group and was the inspiration for several fictional characters, including Cedric Hampton in Nancy Mitford's novel "Love in a Cold Climate"; he was also, for several years, a partner of the poet Sigfried Sassoon (1886-1967).
These two stories by Tennant were printed by Elysium Press, which began in 1980 and often prints writings that are out of print or out of fashion, with a focus on the works of gay writers which "ha[ve] been neglected or overlooked by the commercial trade" (per the Elysium Press website). Over the course of nearly forty years, Tennant worked on the novel "Lascar", producing copious amounts of unpublished material; the two stories in this volume represent his rich writing style, largely unread and unknown by the public.
The volume is housed in the publisher's box with a pattern matching that of the binding, with the prospectus, which features one of the colour illustrations by Tennant found in the book. Scarce in the marketplace, we find no other copies online as of this writing; OCLC locates fifteen copies in institutions.
___DESCRIPTION: Quarter purple cloth with dark blue boards featuring an all-over pattern of stars, dark blue lettering and ornament on the spine, fore-edge rought cut, title page with green border of stars and purple lettering, monochrome photograph of Stephen Tennant by Cecil Beaton on the verso of the title page, text printed in brown, green, and purple, seven full-page colour illustrations by Tennant throughout, line drawings in brown by Tennant throughout; Cochin type, Zerkall paper, octavo size (9.5" by 7.5"), pagination:  [i] ii-iii [iv-vi]  2-41 [42-44] [1 colophon], one of 200 copies, this copy out of series (unnumbered). With prospectus, one sheet printed in blue, with a duplicate of the illustration facing page 9 on the verso. Housed in the publisher's box, covered in blue paper with the same star pattern as the boards, white paper label with black decorative border and lettering on the front.
___CONDITION: A fine copy, the covers clean, the corners straight, the binding tight with solid hinges, the interior is clean and bright, and entirely free of prior owner markings; light rubbing to the corners, else fine. The prospectus is fine, clean and without wear. The publisher's box is near fine, strong and sturdy, clean but for a few specks on the rear board, without wear but for light rubbing on the bottom edge and corners of the front board.
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