West-Running Brook. Robert Frost.
West-Running Brook
West-Running Brook
West-Running Brook
West-Running Brook
West-Running Brook

West-Running Brook

New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1928. First edition, first printing. Hardcover. This is a jacketed first edition, first printing, first state of West-Running Brook. This collection includes notable pieces such as “Once by the Pacific”, “Bereft”, “Acquainted with the Night”, and the titular “West-Running Brook”. The latter is a profound meditation on a brook that curiously runs West rather than South and accrues phenomenological significance via a dialogue between a man and a woman. Publication followed four years after Frost’s first Pulitzer Prize win and is the work of a master writing at the top of his form. West-Running Brook is every bit as daring and provoking as Frost works that received conspicuous literary honors and harbors ideas that would come to define him as one of America’s superlative voices — to borrow phrasing from Frost, a voice that “most we see ourselves in…that is most us.”

Condition is near fine in a very good plus dust jacket. The handsome but delicate publisher’s binding is quarter green cloth over green, laid paper-covered boards with an inset front cover illustration in gilt. The binding remains square, clean, tight, and unfaded, showing only the trivial shelf wear at the spine ends and still-sharp corners. The contents remain crisp, bright, and notably clean apart from some trivial soiling to the lower margin of p.37. First state of the first printing is confirmed by absence of the words “First Edition” on the copyright page. (See Crane A9). An illustrated previous owner’s bookplate is affixed to the front pastedown. A tiny bookseller’s sticker (“Paul Elder & Co” of “San Francisco”) is affixed to the lower final free endpaper recto.

The handsome dust jacket, printed red and dark green on light grey stock patterned like laid paper is nearly complete, with only fractional chipping at the spine ends and a tiny loss above the “ST” in “FROST” near the head of the spine. The jacket is quite clean with mild, uniform spine toning and light wear to extremities, including two short, closed tears and associated wrinkling at the upper rear face. The jacket is protected beneath a removable, clear, archival cover.

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, teaching and farming to support himself and a young family.

A 1912 move to England with his wife and children – “the place to be poor and to write poems” – finally catalyzed his recognition as a noteworthy American poet. There he published both A Boy’s Will (1913) and North of Boston (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) In 1924 he 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).

Reference: Crane A10. Item #006763

Price: $250.00

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