HENRY GREEN'S "UNFORGETTABLE" SEVENTH NOVEL, CONCLUDING, A PRESENTATION COPY INSCRIBED BY HIM THE YEAR AFTER PUBLICATION
(YORKE, Henry) GREEN, Henry. Concluding. London: Hogarth Press, 1948. Octavo, original blue cloth, original dust jacket. $2200.
First edition of Green's critically praised futuristic novel, issued the same year as Orwell's 1984, the novel Green considered his best work, inscribed by him the year after publication, "To M— From me. 13/10/49."
Henry Yorke, who wrote with the pen name of Henry Green, saw this futuristic novel as a ballet, "a sensual, elusive, symbolic dance… Of the nine novels he wrote, the seventh, Concluding, was in his own estimation the best." Set on a summer day at a school for training young women to serve the state, it is reminiscent of Midsummer Night's Dream. As in Shakespeare's comedies, Green's wry "humor is suffused with danger, insecurity, jealousy, paranoia, all derived from or tinged by sexuality" (Jeremy Treglown). While the novel bears "general resemblance to Orwell's novel of the same year, 1984, Concluding is also distinguished by a more complex set of characters and a more generally hopeful mood" (Oxford Encyclopedia of British Literature I:465). "Its magic, enchanted atmosphere ultimately represents Green's comment on the relation between art and life" (Holmesland, Critical Introduction, 192). To George Painter, Proust's biographer, "Concluding is unforgettable: and not the least of its ambiguous charms is that the reader will never know just what it is he is unable to forget." Green wrote with the "basic realization that ordinary life is an achievement… and many episodes in his work seemed governed by principles also observable in Remembrance of Things Past" (North, Henry Green, 215). First issue, with no indication of printings on the copyright page. With dust jacket designed by British artist Mona Moore who, at the outbreak of WWII, was commissioned by Sir Kenneth Clark, "then Director of the National Gallery, to record British lives and landscapes at a time of change… [with] the works presented to the Victoria and Albert Museum" (British Council-Visual Artist). See Connolly, Modern Movement 59.
Book fine; small chip affecting spine lettering of near-fine dust jacket. Works inscribed by Green are quite scarce.