New York: New Directions, Harcourt, Macmillan, Knopf, 1940, 1948, 1951, 1953, 1965.
5 vols. 8vo. Collection of Randall Jarrell Books inscribed to his Aunt and Uncle. Toning to endpapers of 5 Young American Poets else all fine copies in very good jackets, light rubbing and peripheral shelfwear, ring stain to rear panel of Seven-League Crutches, all with the prices intact Item #319532
A superb archive of family association copies, the first four works inscribed by Jarrell to his aunt and uncle, "To Uncle Howell and Aunt Elise, From Randall". It comprises includes Jarrell's first book appearance, in New Directions' 5 Young American Poets, his third, fourth, and fifth books, and his final book, The Lost World.
Jarrell's uncle, Howell Campbell (1888-1961), was influential in both his upbringing and schooling. Jarrell's parents divorced when he was ten and his mother moved him and his brother Charles to Nashville where they grew up surrounded by her family. His uncle, who ran a successful candy company which created the popular Goo Goo Cluster, provided most of the care for the Jarrell boys.
Despite Jarrell's early hopes for a literary career the expectation was that he would join the family business, and as such was initially sent by Howell to the local commercial school. However, during his first year, he developed a respiratory illness which forced him to drop out. Howell then agreed to send Jarrell to Vanderbilt, paying his day student tuition.
Jarrell (19171965) graduated magna cum laude in 1935, and, after a detour to study psychology, completed a master's degree in English in 1937. At Vanderbilt he met the Fugitive Poets and studied under Allen Tate and John Crowe Ransom, both of whom helped him publish poetry in national magazines by his senior year. He also befriended fellow graduate student Robert Penn Warren, who helped Jarrell get his first job at Kenyon College, where he taught the young Robert Lowell.
Howell's influence is clear in Jarrell's writing style. In his third book, Losses, Jarrell used Howell's "speech rhythms and businessman attitudes" for the piece entitled "Money". Jarrell's wife Mary recalls that Howell opened the book to that page and exclaimed: "Ran got it all from me! I give'm those ideez! No mam! I won't quit braggin'! Got me somep'n to brag on! Shoot! Ran don't know any folks 'cep' me's got money!".
The negative response from the press to what would be Jarrell's final work, The Lost World, including a notably derisive review in the New York Times, contributed to Jarrell's declining mental health and hospitalisation in the summer of 1965. While he returned to teaching that autumn, in October of 1965 he died after being struck by a car. The present copy of The Lost World is inscribed by his wife to his brother Charles four days after his death, who then reinscribed it to his aunt Elise.
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