Item Details

The Unquiet Grave – A Word Cycle. By Palinurus.

London: Horizon, 1944. First edition, hardcover issue, one of 500 copies printed on Barcham Green handmade paper by the Curwen Press. Of the 1000 sets of sheets printed, 500 were reportedly bound in cloth and 500 were bound in wrappers. Presentation copy, inscribed by Connolly to his friend Tom Driberg on the front free endpaper: "Tom with much love / from Cyril – " Tom Driberg, later ennobled as Baron Bradwell of Bradwell, a poet in his youth, a journalist (author of “The Talk of London” column under the pseudonym of “William Hickey” in the Daily Express), a member of the British Communist Party and later long-standing Labour MP (and Chairman of the Labour Party), the author of a sympathetic account of Guy Burgess and a suspected spy, a promiscuous homosexual and High Church Anglican, Driberg is the subject of a biography by Francis Wheen entitled The Soul of Indiscretion: Tom Driberg, Poet, Philanderer, Legislator and Outlaw – His Life and Indiscretions. One of the most civilized, and civilizing, of modern books, The Unquiet Grave is a compilation of the “doubts and reflections of a year” on “art, love, nature and religion.” Begun in 1940, “The Unquiet Grave,” as Connolly reflected ten years later in the introduction to the revised edition, “is inevitably a war-book.” Although it was an attempt “to extricate himself from the war and to escape from his time and place into the bright empyrean of European thought,” it was also an attempt to alleviate “a private grief - a separation for which he felt himself to blame … a struggle against propaganda … and an optimistic determination to prove how near and necessary to us were the minds and culture of those across the channel who then seemed quite cut off from us, perhaps for ever. To evoke a French beach at that time was to be reminded that beaches did not exist for mines and pill-boxes and barbed wire but for us to bathe from and that, one day, we would enjoy them again.” “As a signal of distress from one human being to another The Unquiet Grave went unanswered, but the suffering was alleviated. As a demonstration of the power of words, however, … the work was an object-lesson. … ‘La pensee console de tout’.” Virtually the entire book is quotable, a fact to which Ernest Hemingway attested when he wrote: “It is a book which, no matter how many readers it will have, will never have enough”. Spine slightly sunned, otherwise a fine copy in jacket, faintly sunned along the spine panel. 8vo, illustrated, original cloth, t.e.g., dust jacket.

Price: $2,250.00

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