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A Boy's Will
New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1915. First U.S. edition, first printing, first state. Hardcover. This is a magnificent, jacketed, American first edition, first state, of the author's first published book. This edition saw a first printing of 750 copies in April 1915, one month after the American edition of North of Boston (reversing the publication order of the British first editions). First state is confirmed by the misprint “Aind” on the final line of p. 14, corroborated by white (as opposed to buff) endpapers. (See Crane, A2.1, p.11). Both glassine and printed dust jackets on tan paper have been reported for the first edition. This jacket is clearly an early state, given the 75 cent price. It is also an apparently unrecorded state, printed “BY ROBERT FROST” on the spine instead of “By ROBERT FROST”, “75c net” instead of “75 Cents Net”, and with the front panel price positioned lower. Condition is superlative, near fine in a dust jacket approaching near fine. The blue cloth binding is square, tight, and beautifully bright and clean, with vivid gilt and sharp corners. Trivial hints of wear are confined to the lower corners and spine extremities. A slight ripple in the cloth at the upper rear corner is almost certainly a binding blemish. The contents are likewise impressively clean, with no previous ownership marks. The untrimmed fore and bottom edges show only slight age-toning, the top edge minor dust soiling and perhaps a barely discernible hint of spotting. Dust jacket condition is equally impressive, with only trivial loss to spine extremities and flap fold corners and no appreciable spine toning. The only soiling is a tiny stain and adjacent scuff mark at the upper edge of the front panel. We note a 3 cm neatly closed split at the upper front flap fold and light scuffing to the hinges. The jacket is protected with a removable, archival quality clear cover. Iconic American poet and four-time Pulitzer Prize winner Robert Lee Frost (1874-1963), the quintessential poetic voice of New England, was actually born in San Francisco and first published in England. When Frost was eleven, his newly widowed mother moved east to Salem, New Hampshire, to resume a teaching career. There Frost swiftly found his poetic voice, infused by New England scenes and sensibilities. Promising as both a student and writer, Frost nonetheless dropped out of both Dartmouth and Harvard, supporting himself and a young family by teaching and farming. Ironically, it was a 1912 move to England with his wife and children – “the place to be poor and to write poems” – that finally catalyzed his recognition as a noteworthy American poet. The manuscript of A Boy's Will was completed in England and accepted for publication by David Nutt on 1 April 1913. “Yeats pronounced the poetry “the best written in America for some time” and Frost received “two extraordinary tributes in the Nation and the Chicago Dial and a superb review in the Academy.” (ANB) A convocation of critical recognition, introduction to other writers, and creative energy supported the English publication of Frost's second book, North of Boston, in 1914, after which “Frost's reputation as a leading poet had been firmly established in England, and Henry Holt of New York had agreed to publish his books in America.” Accolades met his return to America at the end of 1914 and by 1917 a move to Amherst “launched him on the twofold career he would lead for the rest of his life: teaching whatever “subjects” he pleased at a congenial college… and “barding around,” his term for “saying” poems in a conversational performance.” (ANB) By 1924 he had won the first of his eventual four Pulitzer Prizes for poetry (1931, 1937, and 1943). Frost spent the final decade and a half of his life as “the most highly esteemed American poet of the twentieth century” with a host of academic and civic honors to his credit. Two years before his death he became the first poet to read in the program of a U.S. Presidential inauguration (Kennedy, January 1961). Bibliographic reference: Crane A2.1
      [Bookseller: Churchill Book Collector]
Last Found On: 2017-12-19           Check availability:      Biblio    


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