ELIOT, YEATS, HARDY, SASSOON, LAWRENCE: THE FIRST 31 ARIEL POEMS, DELIGHTFULLY ILLUSTRATED, HANDSOMELY BOUND TOGETHER IN ONE VOLUME
ELIOT, T.S.; YEATS, W.B.; HARDY, Thomas; SASSOON, Siegfried; CHESTERTON, G.K.; et al. [Ariel Poems, Numbers 1-31]. (London: Faber & Faber [Curwen Press]), . Tall 12mo, contemporary full red polished calf gilt, raised bands, black morocco spine label, patterned endpapers, all edges gilt; original illustrated front wrappers to each part retained. $3500.
First editions of the first 31 (of 38) of Faber & Faber's esteemed "Ariel Poems" series, each a small booklet featuring a poem by a renowned poet of the early 20th century, such as T.S. Eliot, W.B. Yeats, Thomas Hardy, Siegfried Sassoon, D.H. Lawrence, Edith Sitwell, Edmund Blunden, and G.K. Chesterton, delightfully illustrated, usually in color, the series handsomely bound together in one volume by Sangorski & Sutcliffe.
Faber & Faber's poetical series of 38 booklets, published between 1927-1931, brought together the most renowned poets and artists of the times. "After Eliot's conversion [to the Church of England, in 1927] he placed religion at the center of his life… Eliot's poetry also now addressed explicitly religious situations. In the late 1920s he published a series of shorter poems in the Faber Ariel series—short pieces issued in pamphlet form within striking modern covers. These included 'Journey of the Magi' (1927), 'A Song for Simeon' (1928), 'Animula' (1929), 'Marina' (1930), and 'Triumphal March' (1931) [this last is not included in this bound collection]. Steeped in Eliot's contemporary study of Dante and Shakespeare's later work, all meditate on spiritual growth and anticipate the dialogue of self and soul achieved in the longer and more celebrated Ash-Wednesday (1930). 'Journey of the Magi' and 'A Song for Simeon', exercises in Browningesque dramatic monologues, speak to Eliot's desire, pronounced since 1922, to exchange the symbolist fluidity of the psychological lyric for a more traditional dramatic form" (ODNB). Eliot was experiencing writer's block for some time before he wrote "Journey of the Magi." "His 'block' was not successfully lifted until… Geoffrey Faber asked him to write one in a series of 'Ariel' poems—single poems published as illustrated pamphlets for Christmas. It was the first poem written since his student days on an ostensibly religious subject… 'Journey of the Magi' is the poem of a convert, which takes as its theme the painful necessity of rebirth" (Ackroyd, T.S. Eliot, 164). Eliot: Gallup A9a; A11a; A14a; A17a. Yeats: Wade 166. (Et al.).
A handsomely bound volume in fine condition.