Blasting & Bombardiering …

London, Eyre & Spottiswode, 1937.

8vo, pp. vi, [2], 312, with a frontispiece self-portrait and black and white plates; publisher’s orange cloth, top edge stained, pale grey dust-jacket printed in black and yellow to a design by Lewis; a fine copy in a good jacket, stain to front cover, spine browned; bookseller’s ticket ‘Magasin du Nord’, bookplate of the BBC broadcaster D. G. Bridson, a friend of Lewis in the 1950s; laid in loose is a cut down version of the dust-jacket front cover.


US $612€581

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First edition, first issue binding, of one of Lewis’s best and best-known works. It was the first of two largely autobiographical books, this covering 1914-1926 as stated on the jacket, and is now remembered in particular for its coining of the much-discussed phrase ‘The Men of 1914’, referring to the group of writers including himself, Pound, Eliot and Joyce.

Pound & Grover A26a; Morrow & Lafourcade A26.

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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’.

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