Paleface, the Philosophy of the melting Pot.

London, Chatto & Windus, 1929.

8vo, pp. xi, [1], 303, [1]; publisher’s black cloth, white spine; colour-printed dust-jacket with a design revised by Lewis; slightly shaken but a good copy in a very good jacket, reinforced on verso in a few places, a few short tears to head; bookplate of the BBC broadcaster D. G. Bridson, a friend of Lewis in the 1950s, with his pencil markings in the margin throughout.


US $796€755

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First edition, a considerably expanded version of an essay which first appeared in The Enemy no. 2, examining ‘race-consciousness’ in contemporary literature and the ‘melting pot’ philosophy of America. ‘I am heart and soul upon the side of the Melting Pot, not upon that of the Barbed Wire’ he maintains, but there are chilling arguments against miscegenation and decrying ‘white guilt’. Particular targets of Lewis’s satire were Sherwood Anderson’s Dark Laughter and D. H. Lawrence’s Mornings in Mexico.

Using this copy, Bridson wrote at length about the work in his critical study of Lewis, The Filibuster pp. 75-95.

Pound & Grover A10a; Morrow & Lafourcade A11.

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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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