Poetry & Drama
Poetry and drama from Sappho to today, including poets of the Harlem Renaissance.
Don Blanding. Memory Room. New York: Dodd & Mead, 1943. Signed.
Hardcover. Signed, “Aloha, Don Blanding.” A near fine copy with a near fine dust jacket. Written, illustrated and signed by Blanding, “The Vagabond Poet.”
First edition. Hardcover. Good +/none as issued. First edition [BAL 4925]. Green cloth with gold floral design, title and author in gold. Frontispiece of Dunbar protected by original tissue. Top edge gilt. Fore and bottom deckle edges. Some chipping to these untrimmed edges. Head and tail worn, with small tear. Front edge of joint rubbed. Corners bumped. Some soiling and fading to top edge of cover. Binding is sturdy and sound, pages clean and bright save for toning at foredge. 227 pp. Octodecimo, 4 1/4 x 6 1/2 inches tall.
Pindar, Sappho, et al. Carminum poetarum nouem, lyricae poese[ ]s principu[m], fragmenta : Alcaei, Anacreontis, Sapphus, Bacchylidis, Stesichori, Simonidis, Ibyci, Alcmanis, Pindari, nonnulla etiam aliorum : cum Latina interpretatione, partim solata oratione, partim carmine [Greek Lyric Poets, parallel translation in Latin]. First Edition, First Printing. Very good +
Geneva: Henri, Stephanus, Fuggeri., 1560. First Edition, First Printing. Leather bound. Very good +. [Greek Lyric Poets, translated into Latin]. 1560 printing. Hand bound. Henri, Stephanus, Fuggeri. Parallel translation in Greek & Latin.16mo (125 x 60 mm), 576 pp. Greek and Latin on opposite pages; Estienne device [Schreiber 9] on title-pages. Early binding/rebinding in mottled calf with raised bands. Shows Society of Jesuits stamp. First Estienne edition the Greek lyric poets, accompanied by a Latin translation. Estienne’s text was extremely influential and established itself as the major edition in the sixteenth century; its text was reprinted constantly by the Geneva branch of the Estienne Press (1566, 1586, 1599, 1600, 1612, 1626), and by Plantin in Antwerp (1567). The second part (here bound first) consists of the extant poems of eight other Greek lyric poets: Alcaeus, Sappho, Stesichorus, Ibycus, Anacreon (whose lyrics had been discovered and first printed by Henri Estienne 6 years previously), Bacchylides, Simonides, and Alcman. Volume II, Greek Lyric Poets, only available here. References: Renouard 118: 2; Hoffmann III, 97; Adams P-1227. Many thanks to Dr. Fred Schreiber for catalog description.
New York: George A. Leavitt, ca. 1863. Full leather. Very good +. A very good plus, gorgeously bound and illustrated edition of Milton’s works, including Paradise Lost, Paradise Regained, minor poems, and Samson Agonistes. Full embossed leather boards with ornate motif and gilt stamping. Minor rubbing to surface of cover. This copy from the library of Mrs. Y. F. Slater, and so gilt stamped on cover. Five raised bands. All edges gilt and fine. Marbled end papers. Previous owner’s name on first blank leaf. Frontispiece and all other illustrations and their tissue guards are fine. Mildest of foxing dots to some pages.
Laid in is a news clipping with a facsimile of the note passing all rights to Milton’s work on for the lordly sum of eight pounds. All in all, a lovely copy of a specially made edition. 400 & 368 pp. respectively per volume. Thick octavo, 6 1/2 x 9 1/2 inches tall.
George Ayres Leavitt (May 13, 1822 – December 18, 1888) was the son of a Massachusetts bookbinder who founded several of New York’s earliest publishing firms. This book would have been published between 1860 and 1863 based on the brief history of the eponymous publishing house.
Hardcover. Very Good +/none as issued. Original 1/2 green leather stamped in green over green cloth with gilt leaf stamping on the upper cover and on the spine. Two raised bands. All edges gilt. Wear and light dust on front cover. Minor foxing to copyright page. Green, gold and brown marbled endpapers. Green satin ribbon marker. Illustrated with photographs of Whitman’s America. 536 pp. Octavo, 6 1/2 x 9 inches tall.
This is the “Deathbed Edition” of Whitman’s life work. In January 1892, two months before Whitman’s death, an announcement was published in the New York Herald:
Walt Whitman wishes respectfully to notify the public that the book Leaves of Grass, which he has been working on at great intervals and partially issued for the past thirty-five or forty years, is now completed, so to call it, and he would like this new 1892 edition to absolutely supersede all previous ones. Faulty as it is, he decides it as by far his special and entire self-chosen poetic utterance.
By the time this last edition was completed, Leaves of Grass had grown from a small book of 12 poems to a hefty tome of almost 400 poems.
Collector’s Edition. Hardcover. Fine/none as issued. Rockwell Kent. Appears unread. Part of the 100 Greatest Books Ever Written series. Full leather-bound hardcover, no dust jacket as issued. Bound in green leather, hand selected from individually tanned hides. Raised bands. Elaborately stamped with 22 kt. gold. Satin moiré endpapers. All edges gilt. Satin ribbon page marker bound into book. 527 pp. includes index. Octavo.
Contains 1902 standard text of the poem as published by his executors for Whitman’s Complete Works.
Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1928. First Edition, First Printing. 1/4 cloth. Very Good. First printing. Very Good. This edition is limited to 750 copies and the type has been distributed. Unnumbered copy. Quarter cloth leather spine with grey paper boards. Corners wearing, leather missing 1/8″ at head of spine. Leather has a long thin indentation on front. Raised bands. Pp. 1-10 have small, uniform chip on lower right. Cream endpapers. Pages untrimmed, clean and sound. Thick paper. Embossed English department stamp, no other markings, not ex-library. 265 pp. including notes. Small quarto, 8 x 11 inches tall. Includes facsimiles of Whitman’s original MS and letters.
Berkeley: Turtle’s Quill Scriptorium, 1974. First Edition Thus, Limited. Stiff wraps. Fine. Joyce Alexander; Dorsey Alexander. A fine limited edition. One of 75 numbered copies. This copy is unnumbered (blank where the number would be inscribed). Green stiff paper wraps. Sienna end papers. Illustrations by Joyce Alexander. Calligraphy by Dorsey Alexander.  pp. Octavo, 6 x 9 inches tall.
Italia, 1841. Reprint. Three-quarter leather. Very good +. A very good plus copy of Porta’s (1775-1821) poetry in the Milanese, with and appendix of poetry by Steppani. Brown and yellow marbled boards over 3/4 tan leather. All edges painted blue speckled. Cream endpapers showing offset. Foxing to pages. Binding is sturdy and square. 202 pp. plus an appendix of 14 pp. of poetry by Pietro Steppani in script from 1815. Followed by 30 blank pages, as if inviting notes or the reader’s own compositions. 18mo, 4 1/4 x 6 inches tall. Carlo Porta (June 15, 1775 – January 5, 1821) was an Italian poet, the most famous writer in Milanese (the central dialect of the Western Lombard language)…. Porta began to write poems in 1790, although few of them were published before 1810. In 1804-1805 he worked at a Milanese translation of the Divine Comedy, which he, however, left unfinished. In these years the progressive group that formed round him and called themselves the “Cameretta Portiana” …
New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1929. First American Edition. Cloth. Near fine/missing. Parin. A near fine first American edition with some uncut pages. Missing dust jacket. Orange cloth decorated boards. one light faded area at base of front cover. Top edge painted blue. Deckled fore edge. Gorgeous woodcut by Parin on title page. No markings. Binding is sturdy and square. 202 pp. Duodecimo, 5 1/2 by 7 3/4 inches tall (text block).
New York: Little Leather Library, 1921. Redcroft Edition. Leatherette. Good +. A good promotional Little Leather Library Redcroft Edition circa 1921. Green and copper embossed leatherette binding showing shelf wear and rubbing at head and tail of spine, and corners. Leatherette still supple. Toning to pages. Title page has a chip missing at top edge, 1/2 long x 1/16 inches high. Binding tight and square. 96 pp. Miniature book, 48mo, 3 x 4 inches tall. Contains 50 selections of poetry.