"ONLY SONG, THAT INDESTRUCTIBLE, THAT GOLDEN THING": MERVYN PEAKE'S FIRST BOOK OF POEMS, SHAPES AND SOUNDS, 1941 FIRST EDITION
PEAKE, Mervyn. Shapes & Sounds. London: Chatto & Windus, 1941. Slim octavo, original half black cloth, original dust jacket. $400.
First edition of Peake's first collection of poetry, a collection of 24 poems including "London, 1941" and "Rhondda Valley," in striking original dust jacket designed by Peake. A lovely copy.
"Shapes and Sounds was published on 20 November… Paper restrictions meant that the print runs were short (a thousand copies of Shapes and Sounds, of which only five hundred were bound immediately)… Only six of the poems had previously been published; they include 'The Cocky Walkers,' 'Rhondda Valley' and 'Colored Money'… Among the new poems were the dedicatory 'To Maeve,' which Walter de la Mare had liked so much, and two others which he singled out for praise when Mervyn submitted half-a-dozen poems to him earlier that summer: 'London, 1941' and 'What Is It Muffles the Ascending Moment?' The former is a successful evocation of London's bombed houses… Of all his oeuvre it is one of the most frequently reprinted poems" (Winnington, Vast Alchemies, 147, 144-45). "Peake had wanted to illustrate some of the poems but was unable to as the war shortages made the printing of illustrations difficult" (Gilmore & Johnson, Mervyn Peake: Writings and Drawings, 43).
Book fine; price-clipped dust jacket with two short closed tears along front flap fold, bright, clean and near-fine.