“Mr. Stevens is definitely out of tune with life and with his surroundings, and is seeking an escape into a sphere of finer harmony between instinct and intelligence… Mr. Stevens need fear no comparisons with these internationally famous writers [Eliot, Sitwells and Valéry]. He is head and shoulders above them all.”
– John Gould Fletcher, reviewing Harmonium in 1923
FIRST EDITION, FIRST BINDING of Stevens’ first book of poetry.
Stevens was 44 years old when his first “damned serious affair” with poetry hit the bookshelves in the shape of Harmonium, which collected what are now some of Stevens' most celebrated poems. These include “Peter Quince at the Clavier” and “Sunday Morning” as well as one of his own favourites, “The Emperor of Ice-Cream”.
STEVENS, WALLACE. Harmonium. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1923. First edition, one of 500 copies in the first biding. Octavo, 140,  pp. Paper-backed boards patterned with red, blue and yellow checks, backed in navy cloth with paper label pasted at the top of spine; top edge stained red, with untrimmed fore and bottom edges; without scare dust-jacket, spine label slightly tanned, minimal wear to edges with small closed tear on top of upper board, toning towards gutter between copyright and dedication pages; otherwise very good with text clear and unaffected. Ownership inscription in pencil on front flyleaf: “Holbrook Dodge | from Beck | 1926 – 5”. Edelstein A.I.a.
Fletcher, John Gould, “The Revival of Estheticism”, Freeman, 19 Dec 1923, pp. 355–56; reprinted in Wallace Stevens: The Critical Heritage, ed. Charles Doyle (London: Routledge, Taylor & Francis, 1997), pp. 46–47
William Carlos Williams, Selected Essays of William Carlos Williams (New York: New Directions, 1969); Stevens writing to Williams in 1918: “Well a book of poetry is a damned serious affair”, p. 13.
Price: $2,500 .