New York: The Macmillan Company, 1957. Item #05046
"A sudden blow: the great wings beating still
Above the staggering girl, her thighs caressed
By the dark webs, her nape caught in his bill,
He holds her helpless breast upon his breast…" (Leda and the Swan)
YEATS, W[illiam] B[utler]. The Variorum Edition of the Poems of W.B. Yeats. Edited by Peter Allt… and Russell K. Alspach… New York: The Macmillan Company, 1957.
Limited to 825 copies of which this is no. 544) signed in ink by W.B. Yeats.
Octavo (9 1/4 x 6 1/8 inches; 234 x 152 mm.). [i-ii], signed limitation leaf (verso blank), iii-xxxv, [i, blank], 884 pp.
Publishers quarter red buckram over wheat-colored buckram boards, spine ruled and lettered in gilt, ivory endpapers, top edge stained pale blue. Spine slightly faded otherwise an excellent copy. Without the original slipcase.
"This Special Printing of The Variorum Edition of the Poems of W. B. Yeats consists of eight hundred and twenty-five copies on paper specially made by Oxford Paper Company, each containing the Poet's autograph…"
The limitation leaves were signed by William Butler Yeats shortly before his death in 1939 for a planned two-volume edition of his poems, which was published by Macmillan of London in 1949. The remaining signed leaves were retained by the publisher and used in this 1957 variorum edition.
William Butler Yeats (1865-1939) was an Irish poet, dramatist, prose writer and one of the foremost figures of 20th-century literature. A pillar of the Irish literary establishment, he helped to found the Abbey Theatre, and in his later years served two terms as a Senator of the Irish Free State. He was a driving force behind the Irish Literary Revival along with Lady Gregory, Edward Martyn and others.
Yeats was born in Sandymount, Ireland, and educated there and in London. He was a Protestant and member of the Anglo-Irish community. He spent childhood holidays in County Sligo and studied poetry from an early age, when he became fascinated by Irish legends and the occult. These topics feature in the first phase of his work, which lasted roughly until the turn of the 20th century. His earliest volume of verse was published in 1889, and its slow-paced and lyrical poems display debts to Edmund Spenser, Percy Bysshe Shelley, and the poets of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. From 1900, his poetry grew more physical and realistic. He largely renounced the transcendental beliefs of his youth, though he remained preoccupied with physical and spiritual masks, as well as with cyclical theories of life. In 1923, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.
Wade 211N (Limited Edition - page 214).