'I SALUTE YOU'

The Human Age.  Book Two, Monstre Gai.  Book Three, Malign Fiesta.  Illustrations by Michael Ayrton. 

London, Methuen & Co. Ltd., [1955]. 

8vo, pp. [6], 566, with illustrations by Ayrton; publisher’s white cloth, printed in black and gilt, dustjacket in red, white and black to a design by Ayrton; a fine copy in a very good jacket; bookplate of Lewis’s friend, the BBC broadcaster D.G. Bridson.

£1750

Approximately:
US $2145€2033

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First edition, inscribed ‘To Geoffrey Bridson – you who did so much to make the completion of this book possible, and who was chiefly responsible for its translation into Radio drama – I salute you. / Wyndham Lewis’. 

After the broadcast of Bridson’s production of The Childermass (1928) on 18 June 1951, the BBC commissioned Lewis to complete the trilogy ‘on the condition that when they were finished similar broadcast dramatizations would precede book publication.  As a result of this sponsorship – largely the work of B.B.C. producer D. G. Bridson – Lewis was able to write Monstre Gai and Malign Fiesta’ (Morrow & Lafourcade). 

When the two novels had been completed, ‘a set of the galley proofs was then made over to me, and I sketched out what had to be done.  Briefly, this was a matter of writing additional scenes which would be necessary to bridge the gaps left by cutting such a lengthy work.  The extra scenes were written by me along the lines that I had indicated, and the whole was trimmed down to the four and a half hours of air-time agreed upon’ (Bridson, ‘“The Human Age” in Retrospect’, in Meyers, ed.)  ‘(T)he entire trilogy was broadcast on May 24, 26, and 28, 1955.  T. S. Eliot, who had read much of the manuscripts of the novels as they were being written, and had made comments and suggestions to Lewis about the texts, discussed Monstre Gai and Malign Fiesta during the Third Programme on May 25, 1955’ (Morrow & Lafourcade).

Pound & Grover A41a; Morrow & Lafourcade A40. 

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