London: Jonathan Cape, (1929). First Edition. Hardcover. First issue (see details below), octavo size, 448 pp., in publisher's dust jacket. Very good + / fair. Item #20082972
Robert von Ranke Graves (1895-1985) was born into a literary family and showed literary genius from a young age. Although the horrors of "The Great War" and subsequent difficulties had a devastating effect on him, he would write almost his entire life, producing more than 135 books including the popular "I, Claudius" and, in addition to earning many awards, was presented by Queen Elizabeth with her gold medal for poetry.
This work made Graves famous; it has been called "a searing work of genius in which [he] offers up a heavily rewritten version of his past life upon the altar of his present love." The first issue, of which this copy is one, includes the short passage on p. 290 and the letter to Graves in rhyming form by Siegfried Sassoon on pages 341 to 343; these two sections were expurgated from all future printings. Per the bibliography, it is estimated that only about 100 copies were released containing these passages; now, almost 100 years after publication, these passage seem important to understanding the whole. With a "Dedicatory Epilogue to Laura Riding", Graves' lover at the time and credited to being his literary muse for this, and several other, works during the course of their relationship.
___DESCRIPTION: Bound in full salmon cloth over boards, gilt lettering on the spine, back blind-stamped with publisher's device, frontis a black and white portrait of Graves, title page with publisher's device, an additional seven black-and-white plates bound in throughout (mostly maps), vintage bookseller's ticket on rear pastedown from The Holliday Bookshop in New York; octavo size (8" by 5.75"), pagination: [1-6] 7-448. In the publisher's dust jacket showing the original price of 10s. 6d., the frontis portrait of Graves reproduced on the front panel with accompanying black lettering and designs which are also on the spine, back panel with similar black designs, the front flap with a short blurb about the book ("...an accurate and unembarrassed account of his life") and a short author bio, the price printed at the bottom corner, the back flap blank.
___CONDITION: Volume better than very good (almost near fine), the boards mostly clean with a few stray spots of soil, the top corners straight and the bottom corners lightly bumped, a strong, square text block with solid hinges, the interior is clean and bright, and entirely free of prior owner markings; some toning to pp. 340-341 at the top gutter margin, clearly from a piece of paper having been laid in there to mark the subsequently expurgated text. The dust jacket fair, all components present but with the front panel detached from the spine, the spine heavily sunned with loss at both the head and tail, the tail showing the publisher's device but not name, also overall edgewear and light soiling (please see pictures and request more if needed). An about near fine first issue book in a fair jacket.
___CITATIONS: Higginson no. A32a.; online Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
___POSTAGE: International customers, please note that additional postage may apply as the standard does not always cover costs; please inquire for details.
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