N. Y. Dutton, 1969. Uncorrected proof copy of the first edition. The idea for this collaborative novel came to Schuyler on a drive from the Hamptons into New York City in 1952. At first, working together, Schuyler and Ashbery came up with alternating lines, but this method became too problematic, and had to be abandoned when Ashbery went to Europe in 1955. Eventually, the two poets began composing longer passages alone, but the attempt to continue the collaboration by correspondence proved unsatisfactory. The "hand-made quality" of the work suffered, and it was only completed after the two men were reunited in New York ten years later. "The style of arch ventriloquism that Ashbery and Schuyler adopted in A Nest of Ninnies had the virtue of allowing each of the two to escape from his personality, to lose himself in the work.... Perhaps the most extraordinary thing about A Nest of Ninnies is that the two poets have dissolved their own personalities and merged so entirely into a common style that it can be said that the book's author is neither Ashbery nor Schuyler but a third entity fashioned in the process of collaboration. They had transformed a game into a form of literary creation." - Lehman, The Last Avant-Garde (NY: Doubleday, 1998), p. 82. A fine copy of this rare proof, enclosed in a cloth folding box with morocco labels on the spine. Tall thin 8vo, original spiral-bound printed wrappers.