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Three autograph letters signed
five pages, folio (approximately 1100 words) 29 May 1957 - 9 November 1961 - An exceptional series to Neville Braybrooke on the subject of a contribution to the latter's forthcoming festschrift "T.S. Eliot: A Symposium for his Seventieth Birthday" (Hart-Davis, London, 1958). Jones apologises for the delay in replying to his correspondent's letters and confesses: "Actually I didn't quite know what the answer was, nor do I now, I mean I don't know what form a contribution from myself to the proposed volume could take" and continues: "Naturally I approve of the scheme as such and I feel honoured that you should ask me to contribute, but I don't know at all what to suggest. Perhaps . . . some sort of inscription might be the most likely." "I don't feel much attracted to the idea of writing a thing about `Illustrating T.S.E.' I don't think I have anything much to say about that really. True, I did those illustrations to the Xmas poem [The Cultivation of Christmas Trees (Faber; 1950)] - I fear the reproductions give no idea at all of the originals. `The Impact in 1922 of The Waste Land' by Rose M[acaulay]. sounds as though it should be very interesting. It's an amazing work - I don't think I read it until 1926 or 1927 - At last, one felt, here is a proper poem. It has extraordinary authenticity, hasn't it? It mirrors our civilisational phase with absolute validity - a really good poem." The second letter (initialled "D.J."; 5 August 1957) begins: "About the inscription for the T.S.E. book I would make certain conditions. It must be printed in two colours as near as possible those of the original . . . As soon as the format of the book is decided upon I want to know what size the inscription will appear on the page. It will require a reasonable margin. Cf. the inscription in red and black facing p.49 in The Anathemata . . . It is important to know about this in relation to the inscription. It must not be cramped. I should require to see a proof to check up on the colour." A postscript advises: "Please see the original is kept quite flat & handled with care. I think it should be insured for œ100 or œ80." The third letter responds to a request from Braybrooke for a contribution of juvenilia for his writing project on the subject - 35 years in the making and eventually published as Seeds in the Wind: 20th Century Juvenilia (Hutchinson, London) in 1989. Jones provides details of three youthful drawings which he lists as, firstly, one "done at the age of six years (1901) of the leopard & tiger confronting each other"; secondly "The Bear, in pencil on cartridge paper, done at the age of seven years (1902)" and "The Lion, in pencil on cartridge paper, done at the age of seven years (1902)" further explaining: "No 1 & No 3 are entirely imaginary, but No 2 (The Bear) was drawn immediately after seeing a dancing bear from the window in the street in South London. Until, I suppose, the First World War, or at any rate during the first decade of this century, bears were frequently to be seen performing in the London streets. The paling behind the bear was the fence of a builder's yard which happened to be on the opposite side of the road from the house in which I was born in 1895, and from the window of which I saw the performing bear in 1902." Eliot may fairly be said to have discovered Jones as a writer and was the publisher of his first book, In Parenthesis, in 1937 (to which he added an introduction for the second edition in 1961) and several more thereafter. Jones appears to have gifted the inscription under discussion - based on the epigraph to The Waste Land (from The Satyricon by Gaius Petronius and commencing "Nam Sybillam") - to Eliot, for whom he also designed two bookplates. Creasing and marginal tears to edges and with some ink blotting to the second - partially affecting a few words of text - but in very good condition.
      [Bookseller: Peter Grogan]
Last Found On: 2017-12-01           Check availability:      AbeBooks    

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