Hugh Selwyn Mauberley.

London: Ovid Press, 1920.

8vo., pp. [2], 28; [4], of which the first and last blanks are used as pastedowns; original brown boards, tan cloth spine, white printed label on front cover; spine bumped and slightly frayed at head, otherwise a very good copy; cloth folding-box.


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First edition, no. 125 of 165 unsigned copies from a total impression of 200, printed by John Rodker at the Ovid Press in Belsize Park Gardens.

When Pound, still in his early twenties, arrived in London in 1908, he found a city sunk in Edwardian desuetude, ripe for literary experimentation. During his twelve years of residence the poet, while lecturing on medieval Romance literature at the Regent Street Polytechnic, played a central role in launching new writers, steering the course of little magazines, reporting to the more established journals on what was happening in the arts, and striking up congenial friendships with leading spirits (sharing quarters with Yeats, and ‘discovering’ Eliot).

But he was depressed by the conduct of the War, and afterwards he grew disillusioned with ‘wringing lilies from the acorn’ in England, once again recoiling from that ‘tawdry cheapness’ which ‘the age demanded’. He headed to the Paris of Stein and Fitzgerald, leaving Hugh Selwyn Mauberley, one of the great poems of modernism, as his sardonic gesture of farewell.

Gallup A19.

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