FIRST EDITION, FIRST ISSUE, FIRST STATE of the most influential poem of the twentieth century. Complete with the extremely rare dust jacket and glassine. With important provenance: from the estate of Scofield Thayer.
"Assembled out of dramatic vignettes based on Eliot's London life, The Waste Land's extraordinary intensity stems from a sudden fusing of diverse materials into a rhythmic whole of great skill and daring. Though it would be forced into the mold of an academic set piece on the order of Milton's 'Lycidas,' The Waste Land was at first correctly perceived as a work of jazzlike syncopation--and, like 1920s jazz, essentially iconoclastic. A poem suffused with Eliot's horror of life, it was taken over by the postwar generation as a rallying cry for its sense of disillusionment. Pound, who helped pare and sharpen the poem when Eliot stopped in Paris on his way to and from Lausanne, praised it with a godparent's fervor. As important, Eliot's old friend Thayer, by then publisher of the Dial, decided even before he had seen the finished poem to make it the centerpiece of the magazine's attempt to establish American letters in the vanguard of modern culture. To secure The Waste Land for the Dial, Thayer arranged in 1922 to award Eliot the magazine's annual prize of two thousand dollars and to trumpet The Waste Land's importance with an essay commissioned from the Dial's already influential Edmund Wilson. It did not hurt that 1922 also saw the long-heralded publication of Ulysses, or that in 1923 Eliot linked himself and Joyce with Albert Einstein in the public mind in an essay entitled 'Ulysses, Order and Myth.' Meteorically, Eliot, Joyce, and, to a lesser extent, Pound were joined in a single glow--each nearly as notorious as Picasso" (American National Biography).
Provenance: From the estate of Scofield Thayer, Eliot's good friend and the publisher of the Dial, who awarded Eliot the Dial's 1922 annual literary prize and was instrumental in getting the poem published. This copy has never been in circulation - it has come directly from the Thayer estate, with an accompanying letter of provenance.
#91 of 1000 copies published. One of approximately 500 copies of the first issue, with flexible black cloth binding and stamped limitation number 5mm high. With first state of text ("mountain") on page 41. With advertising bookmark presumably issued with the book laid-in.
New York: Boni and Liveright, 1922. Octavo, original flexible black cloth, original glassine, original dust jacket; custom half-leather box. Book with pristine text entirely unopened, but with damage to the cloth on the upper joint and a little fraying at top corner and bottom edge. Glassine with wear and chips corresponding to the damage in cloth; dust jacket exceptionally clean and fresh with only chips to spine ends. EXTREMELY SCARCE complete with dust jacket and glassine, and with a significant provenance.
Price: $29,500 .