8vo, pp. 207; some off-setting to title; contemporary ownership note to title dated Manila 1954; uncut in the original illustrated wrappers by Manuel Benet and Manuel Mampaso, spine worn and chipped at foot, front hinge cracking.
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Historia del Corazón.
First edition of this important work by the Nobel prize-winning poet.
‘Aleixandre is one of the few poets of this century who managed to rise and find something above the emptiness. The shift was fairly dramatic. It came with The Story of the Heart (1954). Aleixandre does not lose his gloominess in this book, but despair becomes only one of the tones his voice can take, a part of the register, not the whole song. The bulk of the book affirms human fellowship, a spiritual unity, friendliness. He has written that it “was begun as a work of love in the strict sense”. From there it opens outward to a world of people. It makes his early books seem almost reticent’ (Lewis Hyde, in the introduction to A Longing for the light, selected poems of Vicente Aleixandre, 1979).
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Neskuchnyi sad [Bare garden].
First edition, no. 38 of 150 copies, of a poetical collection by the émigré poet, satirist and feuilletonist Aminad Shpolyansky. A journalist during the First World War, Shpolyansky emigrated to Paris shortly afterwards. ‘With his poetry and prose … he continued the classical tradition of Russian humour with its compassion for the “small man” … Published in Paris in 1935, Don-Aminado’s book Bare garden assembled alongside poetical works, a cycle of aphorisms under the general title “The new Koz’ma Prutkov” [a fictional author invented by Aleksei Tolstoy] … brilliantly witty and wicked. He casts doubts on all moral values – brotherly love, friendship, kindness, justice’, in a manner reminiscent of both Koz’ma Prutkov and Oscar Wilde' (Literaturnaia entsiklopediia russkogo zarubezh’ia 1918-1940).