8vo., pp. , 127, , with the half-title; a very good, crisp copy in recent half calf, preserving the old red morocco label.
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The Grounds of Criticism in Poetry, contain’d in some new Discoveries never made before, requisite for the Writing and Judging of Poems surely. Being a Preliminary to a larger Work design’d to be publish’d in Folio, and entituled, a Criticism upon our most celebrated English Poets deceas’d …
First edition. Published as a ‘preliminary’ to a proposed, but never completed, masterwork, The Grounds of Criticism in Poetry comprises a Preface, Proposal and ‘Specimen’, the latter being an essay substantially on Milton, ‘one of the greatest and most daring Genius’s that has appear’d in the World, and who has made his Country a glorious present of the most lofty, but most irregular Poem, that has been produc’d by the Mind of Man’.
An indifferent playwright perhaps best remembered as an antagonist of Pope, Dennis was however a discerning and influential critic. The Grounds of Criticism was built on themes suggested in The Advancement and Reformation of modern Poetry (1704) – the sublime, passion and the place of religion in literature – but was perhaps too ambitious for his contemporaries. The subscribers ‘for the whole year’ (who included Richard Blackmore, Nicholas Rowe, Mrs. Manley, and Pope’s mentor William Walsh) were not numerous enough to support further work on the project.
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inscribed POUND, Ezra.
Quia Pauper amavi.
First edition, one of 500 ordinary copies (there were also 100 signed copies on handmade paper’, inscribed ‘Bridson / 11 April ’59 / Ezra Pound’. This work contained the first English publication of Cantos I-III, not printed in that order.
AGNES BEDFORD’S COPY POUND, Ezra.
How to Read …
First edition, a fine association copy. Agnes Bedford (1892-1969) was a lifelong friend of Pound (they first met in 1919 and corresponded until 1963 when he unexpectedly severed contact) and through him of Wyndham Lewis, with whom she had an affair in the 1920s. A vocal coach and accompanist, she provided the music for Pound’s Five Troubadour Songs (1920). After he left for Paris in January 1920, Bedford sublet his flat; she then visited him in Paris the following year, where she was the principal amanuensis for his opera based on Villon’s Le Testament. She was later the rehearsal coach for its first performance in 1931 and her contacts were vital to the casting of singers (Bridson was later involved in the first broadcast of the opera in 1962, for which Bedford was frequently consulted). Laid in here is a copy of a letter of 4 May 1969 from Bedford to Bridson on his retirement – ‘I have been so happy to read all the appreciative things about you on all sides’ – recalling ‘happy times at Studio A’ and Bridson’s ‘kind friendship & affection for Wyndham’.