New York: Boni & Liveright, 1925 (1927). Hardcover. Fifth printing, octavo size, 253 pp., inscribed by Robinson Jeffers. Good + / good. Item #20070505
American poet John Robinson Jeffers (1887-1962) was a prolific writer of the twentieth century; his bleak and uncompromising style of poetry was formed through his philosophy of "inhumanism", which focused on a rejection of emotion and man, in favour of nature and other creatures in the universe.
This volume of his work features the long poem "Roan Stallion", which was conceived upon Jeffers finding an old cabin that had been abandoned for many years after its owner was killed by a stallion. Its powerful narrative is filled with a supernatural wildness, and when it was first published it was met with both acclaim and criticism for its controversial portrayal of the relationship between the woman and the stallion, and the stallion's symbolic persona as God.
While a fifth printing, this particular volume special as it is inscribed by Jeffers on the front free endpaper thus: "For Mrs. Denis O'Sullivan / whose charm makes even a city / a pleasant place. / Robinson Jeffers / October, 1929". We were able to find a trace of Mrs. O'Sullivan online; on the web site of the Robinson Jeffers Association is noted a letter written (presumably by Jeffers) on July 13, 1932, in which he mentions her. Per the Association, Mrs. Denis O'Sullivan "was the niece of Ellen O'Sullivan of Carmel. The Jefferses stayed with her in Oxfordshire in 1929." We can only assume that Robinson and Una knew her from visits she made to Carmel, and upon visiting her in Britain, gave her this inscribed copy as a gift. Mrs. O'Sullivan's name (with a first name of "Bess") also appears in the index of "The Collected Letters of Robinson Jeffers", so one can only again assume they knew each other well enough to correspond.
___DESCRIPTION: Bound in full "faded dark purple paper" (per the bibliograpy), on the front board "is a stallion rampant, in faded dark purple, embossed in a square of gilt, about the four sides of which is stamped, in gilt" the full title and author's name, shelfback of black cloth with gilt lettering, top edge stained black, fore-edge uncut, bottom edge rough-cut, Jeffers' inscription, in black ink, appears on the front free endpaper as set forth above, the title page with rules and publisher's device in red (as in the first printing), note that the copyright date of 1925 appears on the title page, however, the printing history appears on the copyright page, this the fifth printing issued in March of 1927; this fifth printing with wove paper (used for the first seven printings), octavo size (8 1/4" by 5 7/8"), pagination: [i-vi] vii-viii [9-10] 11-253. In a third printing dust jacket of orange-red with some cuts and printing on the front and back panels in red, all parts with black printing, "Third Edition" (third printing) on the spine, original price of $3.00 on the front flap, wth review blurbs on the front panel and front flap, review on the back flap by George Sterling for "Robinson Jeffers, The Man and The Artist".
___CONDITION: Volume a bit better than good; the binding, although somewhat cocked, is strong and sturdy with solid hinges, the paper on the front board clean with just a few light, stray marks, the interior mostly clean and bright with a few light, stray spots, and other than the inscription by Robinson Jeffers, entirely free of prior owner markings; the corners gently bumped and the two front corners somewhat rubbed, the gilt lettering on the spine faded, some light soil on the back board, and a small indentation to the top of the back board. The dust jacket is unclipped, however, is good only; while all component pieces are present, there is fairly substantial edgewear (including some loss at the head of the spine, with the word "Roan" mostly missing), overall soiling, the spine has sunned, and a prior owner apparently affixed the jacket at one time to some sort of "protection" as there are multiple remnants of old cello tape on the verso. This book undoubtedly not in the best condition, but still a nice item with the Robinson Jeffers inscription.
___CITATION: Alberts no. 20, for the first edition points and miscellaneous information on subsequent printings.
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