FIRST AMERICAN EDITION OF PERSE’S ÉLOGES, INSCRIBED
PERSE, Saint-John (pseudonym of LÉGER, Alexis Saint-Léger). Éloges and Other Poems. New York: W.W. Norton, 1944. Octavo, original dark blue cloth spine, green paper boards, original dust jacket and glassine. $600.
First American edition of these exotic poems, inscribed by Perse to his American admirers: “À Monroe Wheeler et a Glenway Wescott, si sympathiquement et de si loin deja. St.-John Perse New York, 1946.”
French poet and diplomat Alexis Saint-Léger Léger (aka Saint-John Perse) ranks among the greatest French poets of the 20th century. His work is epic in nature, characterized by a cosmic vision and a lofty rhetoric. “He writes most profoundly of the world in which we now so blindly find ourselves” (MacLeish). Perse won the Nobel Prize for poetry in 1960. Éloges is a collection of childhood memories and vivid descriptions of exotic tropical landscapes, through the use of sensuous and kinetic language praising the spiritual and physical aspects of life. Portions of the collection had appeared as early as 1909 in the Nouvelle revue française. First published in book form in 1911, this is the first American edition, with the text in French and English translations on facing pages. The recipients of this copy, Monroe Wheeler, former Director of Exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art, and writer Glenway Wescott, were on intimate terms with many of the most celebrated writers and artists of their age, both in France and in the U.S. This copy is from Wheeler’s estate.
A fine inscribed copy, with only light edge-wear to original dust jacket.