The Complete Poems of William Empson. William Empson, John Haffenden.
The Complete Poems of William Empson
The Complete Poems of William Empson

The Complete Poems of William Empson

Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2001. First Edition. Hardcover. First North American edition, octavo size, 504 pp. Fine / fine. Item #CNJL2318

Sir William Empson (1906-1984) is considered by many to be one of the greatest English literary critics of the 18th through 20th centuries. A poet as well, he wrote in a letter to his publisher (circa 1930) "And, if I publish a volume of verse with notes longer than the text, as I want to do, will that be a prose work or a verse one?" (n.b., quote from the Introduction).

His publisher clearly understood; this work of over 500 pages includes some 300 pages of notes. This publication was the first to bring together all poems published during Empson's lifetime as well as several more discovered after his death. Published first in Great Britain, both the UK and US versions unaccountably scarce in the marketplace.

___DESCRIPTION: Quarter red cloth over ivory paper boards, gilt lettering on the spine; octavo size (9 1/8" by 6 1/4"), pagination: [i-v] vi-xciv, [1-2] 3-410. Publisher's dust jacket is unclipped (albeit unpriced), front panel a full-colour reproduction of the "Great Pyramid at Giza with Broken Head from Thebes" by David Hockney, with red and green lettering beneath, spine with a similar design, back panel with four review blurbs and one poem ("Let it go"), front flap a summary of the work, back flap with short bios of the author and editor.

___CONDITION: Volume fine overall, with clean boards, straight corners, a strong, square text block with solid hinges, the interior is clean and bright, and entirely free of prior owner markings; one corner lightly rubbed, else fine. Dust jacket also fine overall, clean, with a spot or two of very light wear, else fine.

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Price: $100.00

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