Two Poems. T. S. Eliot.
Two Poems
Two Poems
Two Poems
Two Poems
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Two Poems.

[Cambridge: Printed at the Cambridge University Press], Christmas 1935.

First edition. Ink note on colophon: “J special copy on Japanese rice”. [12] pp., printed rectos only. First and last two leaves are blanks; title is on p. [5]; “Cape Ann”, p. [6]; “Usk”, p. [7]; limitation statement on p. [8]. 1 vols. 6-1/2 x 4-1/2 in. UNIQUE VARIANT OF AN ELIOT RARITY. Stitched in stiff laid paper wrappers, upper cover with gilt label printed in black. Untrimmed and with trifling irregularity to fore edge margin. Label wrinkled with small paste stain at lower left corner of label. Cf. Gallup A30; Barker, Butterfly Books, 17. Item #317255

Two Poems was printed for Frederic Prokosch at the Cambridge University Press in October 1935, for distribution by the author at Christmas 1935. The two poems are "Cape Ann" and "Usk". The poems were included as "Landscapes V, III," under the heading "Minor Poems", in the 1936 Collected Poems.

Frederic Prokosch (1908-1989) was a cosmopolitan American novelist, whose first novel The Asiatics was published to great acclaim in 1935. Prokosch, educated at Haverford and Yale, produced several small books of his own writings and the works of modernist poets. T. S. Eliot, who praised The Asiatics, suggested a small book to be used as a Christmas greeting. Two Poems was the result. While at Cambridge Prokosch also produced titles by Spender and Auden.

The printed colophon calls for 22 copies: five on Arches, five on Normandie, five on Bremen, five on Brussels parchment, and two on red Florentine. Prokosch was always fascinated by paper, which offers some explanation of the variants of this copy. Gallup makes no mention of this paper but the Beinecke holds his copy “I special copy on Ingres” (Gallup Eliot A30 copy 3). Barker notes 2 special copies in addition to the stated limitation but does not specify.

“Of all his literary acquaintance, Prokosch received the most practical help from Eliot” (Barker). Faber reprinted Prokosch’s first book of verse and Eliot supported Prokosch for a Fulbright grant in the early 1950s. Prokosch continued to produce other Butterfly Books through 1970, including a significant number of titles with false imprints. After Prokosch sold a complete set of the pamphlets in 1972, the forgeries were detected by Arthur Freeman; the standard account is Nicolas Barker’s Butterfly Books. An Enquiry into the Nature of Certain Twentieth Century Pamphlets (1987).

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