"SILENCE IS THE ULTIMATE GUIDE": SIEGFRIED SASSOON'S VIGILS, ONE OF 66 RESERVED PRESENTATION COPIES, INSCRIBED BY HIM TO LADY OTTOLINE MORRELL OF THE FAMOUS BLOOMSBURY GROUP
SASSOON, Siegfried. Vigils. [Bristol: Privately printed for Douglas Cleverdon], 1934. Small quarto, original half rust cloth, uncut. $6000.
Signed limited first edition, number 143 of only 303 copies signed and numbered by Sassoon on the colophon, this copy one of 66 reserved presentation copies and additionally inscribed by Sassoon with his characteristic interlocked double-S initials to Lady Ottoline Morrell, influential member of the famed Bloomsbury group: "O.M. from SS."
Recipient Lady Ottoline Morrell, described as a "literary hostess" (ODNB), was friend, muse, and patron to numerous writers and artists, among them Henry James, Bertrand Russell, Virginia Woolf, Aldous Huxley, D.H. Lawrence, and of course Siegfried Sassoon, who lived at the Morrell's Garsington Manor while recuperating from an injury. These 22 poems "were engraved on copper by Charles Sigrist, and printed May, 1934. The frontispiece was designed and engraved by Stephen Gooden." After production of this limited edition, the plates were destroyed. Best-known for his World War I-era poetry, Sassoon was a solitary individual who surprised his friends by marrying Hester Gatty in December 1933, shortly before this volume was published. Rupert Hart-Davis records that Sassoon "longed for praise and recognition, but he was so instinctively reclusive, so unsure of his gifts and afraid of making a fool of himself, that he preferred his poems to appear first in small and expensive limited editions" (Sassoon, Diaries 1915-1918, 10). Keynes A39. Marginal pencil emendation to one poem.
Near-fine condition. An excellent association copy of this scarce Sassoon limited edition.