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New Verse

[ed. GRIGSON, Geoffrey]

  • Publisher: London: Drummond, 1933-1939
London: Drummond, 1933-1939. 34 issues in 32. Small 8vo. Stiff paper wrappers. Red wraparound band to Auden double issue (26-27), perforated subscription forms to many numbers. Staples rusted, closed tear at spine of Issue 1, age-toning consistent with vintage. A near fine set. First edition. A COMPLETE RUN OF THIS HIGHLY INFLUENTIAL PERIODICAL. Geoffrey Grigson was just twenty-seven when he founded the bi-monthly New Verse, which for most of the 1930s remained the only British literary publication devoted solely to poetry. Grigson insisted on high literary standards from his contributors, but once these were met anyone was allowed in; New Verse was important because it was the house journal of no one faction. One of the most important contributors was W.H. Auden: the early issues helped launch him, later ones defended him. (The Auden double issue in this set retains its rare wraparound band). The combative Grigson was happy to criticise those he published, seeing such interventions as a legitimate part of the conversation, but saved most of his ammunition for New Verse's critics: the Sitwells were savaged, and Laura Riding was (entirely fairly) dismissed as 'Queen-bore among all the poets'. The open-door policy of New Verse made it the works canteen of the 1930s poetry factory, with Surrealists rubbing shoulders with Mass Observationists and Objectivists, and Auden and MacNeice establishing themselves at the top table as the decade progressed. The Second World War ended publication, but New Verse's influence reached far beyond 1939. A complete set, in near fine condition, of this landmark publication.

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