First Edition of W.H. Auden's The Age of Anxiety; Inscribed by him to fellow poet Stephen Spender
The Age of Anxiety: A Baroque Eclogue.
Auden, W. H. .$9,500.00
Item Number: 95268
New York: Random House, 1947.
First edition of Auden’s most ambitious Pulitzer Prize-winning poem, which inspired Leonard Bernstein’s Symphony No. 2 for Piano and Orchestra. Octavo, original cloth. Association copy, inscribed by the author on the front free endpaper, “Stephen with love from Wystan. What lips thy lips have kissed, and Where and why not? After Edna St. Vincent Millay.” Auden has also corrected the line “Of the medicine men who keep this body free”, replacing “who” with “whose magic”. He has also corrected one word on page 93. The recipient, Stephen Spender was an English poet and novelist and one of Auden’s closest personal friends. The two met at Oxford University in 1925 and Auden quickly became Spender’s closest friend and biggest influence. Spender hand printed Auden’s first book Poems of 1928 and Auden introduced him to his own literary mentor and occasional partner Christopher Isherwood who, in turn, became a mentor to Spender. Near fine in a very good dust jacket. Jacket design by Andor Braun. Housed in a custom half morocco an chemise case. Rare and desirable.
When it first appeared in 1947, The Age of Anxiety, W. H. Auden's final, longest, and most ambitious poem, immediately struck a powerful chord, capturing the imagination of the cultural era that it distinguished and named. Beginning as a conversation among four strangers in Third Avenue bar, Auden's analysis of Western culture during World War II won the Pulitzer Prize and inspired a symphony by Leonard Bernstein as well as a ballet by Jerome Robbins.