“APRIL IS THE CRUELLEST MONTH…”: THE MOST IMPORTANT POETIC WORK OF THE 20TH CENTURY—FIRST EDITION OF ELIOT’S THE WASTE LAND
ELIOT, T.S. The Waste Land. New York: Boni and Liveright, 1922. Slim octavo, original black cloth, uncut. $4500.
First edition, second impression, of one of the most important poems of the 20th century, number 41 of only 1000 copies.
Perhaps the greatest and most important poetic work of the 20th century, Eliot's Waste Land "came as a profound shock… Within less than a decade, The Waste Land had attained a kind of eminence from which it has never been dislodged" (Ackroyd, 127-28). "Of The Waste Land I shall say nothing but that we should read it every April. It is the breviary of post-war disillusion… hard to listen to without tears… 'Waste Land is, I think, the justification of the modern experiment since 1900' (Pound)" (Connolly, The Modern Movement, 30b). There were 2000 copies of the first edition; this copy is one of the second 1000 copies printed, bound in stiff cloth, with the limitation number printed in type 2mm high. "Although called 'Second Edition' in the colophon, this is actually the second impression from the same setting of type as the first edition, but with a different colophon" (Gallup A6b). Without the "a" in mountain on page 41, line 339, which dropped out of the chase during printing. Without scarce original glassine and dust jacket. Gallup A6a. Sackton A6a3-4. Contemporary owner signature. Occasional light pencil annotations not affecting text.
Very nearly fine condition.