FIRST EDITION OF POEMS OF THE WAR AND AFTER, 1934, SIGNED BY VERA BRITTAIN
BRITTAIN, Vera. Poems of the War and After. London: Victor Gollancz, 1934. Small octavo, original cream cloth, paper spine label, original dust jacket. $3800.
First edition of this collection of poems dealing with the events of World War I and its aftermath, signed on the half title by Vera Brittain.
Best known as the author of the acclaimed World War I memoir Testament of Youth (1933), Vera Brittain was also an accomplished poet. "Although many women poets wrote wartime verse focusing on patriotic
encouragement, some had direct experience of action and deprivation. Brittain left Oxford to serve as a V.A.D. (Voluntary Aide Detachment) nurse in London, Malta, and France; and she suffered great personal losses in the war through the deaths of her brother, as well as her fiancé, Roland Leighton. The poems collected in this volume, some published in Verses of a VAD (1918), express personal pain as well as irony and
compassion" ("A Medium for Modernism," University of Chicago Library). Brittain's experiences transformed her into a lifelong pacifist. Manuscript poem in pencil in an unidentified hand on page 47: "My heart lies broken in the dust / Because that then has gone. / Without a parting word of love / To consolate my dawn. / Perhaps some day we'll meet again / And will you pass me by? / Will you to me from speech refrain? / And leave me there to cry." Contemporary ink owner signature.
Book with a few spots of scattered foxing to interior, large corner stain on pages 58-61, light foxing to extremities of binding. Dust jacket with only faintest soiling and light rubbing and toning to extremities. An extremely good signed copy.