A Boy's Will. Robert Frost.
A Boy's Will
A Boy's Will
A Boy's Will

A Boy's Will

London: David Nutt, 1913. First edition. Wraps. This first edition, second issue of Frost’s first published book is the scarcest identified binding variant – one of just 30 thus. First published in England in 1913, the publication history of A Boy’s Will is complicated by the fact that the reported 1,000 first edition sheets saw two issues in four variant bindings, owing in part to the bankruptcy of the original publisher (Nutt) and sale of unbound first edition sheets during the subsequent liquidation, followed in turn by still further sales of remaining sheets and later bindings thereof. This copy is Binding C, one of only 100 reported copies bound for Simpkin Marshall, distinguished by cream linen-paper wrappers stamped in the same lettering and decoration as Bindings A & B (with the horizontal bar surmounting the “A” and with two eight-petaled flowers, beneath the lower of which is a single dot from which descend three, leaf-like slashes), but in black without a front cover border rule. Of these 100 Binding C copies, 70 (purchased by Dunster House along with 616 remaining sets of sheets in Binding D) were sent to America and rubber-stamped “Printed in Great Britain” on the title page verso. Just 30 copies were not so stamped, retaining a blank title page verso. This copy is one of these 30. Condition is good. The original wraps binding is square, tight, and complete, albeit with minor wear to extremities, overall soiling, and a toned spine. The contents are tight and respectably clean with no previous ownership marks, though there is light intermittent spotting. Iconic American poet and four-time Pulitzer Prize winner Robert Lee Frost (1874-1963), the quintessential poetic voice of New England, was actually born in San Francisco and first published in England. When Frost was eleven, his newly widowed mother moved east to Salem, New Hampshire, to resume a teaching career. There Frost swiftly found his poetic voice, infused by New England scenes and sensibilities. Promising as both a student and writer, Frost nonetheless dropped out of both Dartmouth and Harvard, supporting himself and a young family by teaching and farming. Ironically, it was a 1912 move to England with his wife and children – “the place to be poor and to write poems” – that finally catalyzed his recognition as a noteworthy American poet. The manuscript of A Boy’s Will was completed in England and accepted for publication by David Nutt on 1 April 1913. “Yeats pronounced the poetry “the best written in America for some time” and Frost received “two extraordinary tributes in the Nation and the Chicago Dial and a superb review in the Academy.”" (ANB) A convocation of critical recognition, introduction to other writers, and creative energy supported the English publication of Frost’s second book, North of Boston, in 1914, after which “Frost’s reputation as a leading poet had been firmly established in England, and Henry Holt of New York had agreed to publish his books in America.” Accolades met his return to America at the end of 1914 and by 1917 a move to Amherst “launched him on the twofold career he would lead for the rest of his life: teaching whatever “subjects” he pleased at a congenial college… and “barding around,” his term for “saying” poems in a conversational performance.” (ANB) By 1924 he had won the first of his eventual four Pulitzer Prizes for poetry (1931, 1937, and 1943). Frost spent the final decade and a half of his life as “the most highly esteemed American poet of the twentieth century” with a host of academic and civic honors to his credit. Two years before his death he became the first poet to read in the program of a U.S. Presidential inauguration (Kennedy, January 1961). Bibliographic reference: Crane A2. Item #005522

Price: $1,250.00

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