(London: Macmillan and Co. Ltd., 1949). 260 x 160 mm. (10 1/8 x 6 1/4"). Two volumes. Corrected and with notes by W. B. Yeats. No. 194 OF 375 COPIES of "A DEFINITIVE EDITION," 350 of which were for sale, with limitations page SIGNED BY YEATS.
Publisher's green cloth, gilt monogram on upper covers, smooth spines with gilt titling. In the original (largely intact) acetate dust jackets and brown cardboard slipcase. Each volume with a frontispiece portrait of the poet, one after John Singer Sargent, the other after Augustus John. Prospectus laid in at front of volume I, the front of it inscribed with a verse from Gerard Manley Hopkins' "My own heart let me have more pity on" and the notation "my new year gift to myself / [illegible] Dec. 49." A couple of spots of foxing just to the edge of the last few leaves of volume II, otherwise A VERY FINE COPY, clean, fresh, and bright in pristine bindings, with few signs of use inside or out.
This is a near-mint copy of the "definitive edition" on which Yeats was working up until 48 hours before his death. The collection was planned, and the limitations pages signed, in the late 1930s, but the outbreak of World War II delayed publication for 10 years. Yeats (1865-1939) was the brightest star of the Celtic Renaissance; according to DNB, "almost single-handed, he made Irishness culturally fashionable. Spearheading a great cultural renaissance, he moved into his maturity as the voice of his country, memorializing her heroes, sitting as a senator in her independent parliament, dying full of years and honours. . . . He had always been supreme among modern Irish poets and his international standing has equally been recognized as one of the great innovators of modern poetry." He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1923. The touching inscription on the prospectus--and the sparkling condition here--indicate that this set was a much-treasured personal reward. (ST15054a)
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PJP Catalog: 75.284