Maggs Bros Ltd

Absent and Present.

KALLMAN Chester.; AUDEN W.H. (1963)

£750.00  [First Edition]

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First edition. 8vo., original grey cloth, lettered in blue. Wesleyan University Press, Middleton, Conn.

Inscribed by Kallman to Neil Little, dedicatee of two of the poems, and also of Auden's poem Encomium Balnei: "Kirchstetten Sept 24th 1963, Wystan, This Man is Here: We're Hosts. Toasts! More? If we'll give Neil a (say) meal. He'll feel (he's House Guest) that at best his due no doubt; So... Look what I'll do (Guile!) is (Don't You) kneel to Neil (though I won't woo) with my new book. (It's Bits, Myth and Blood Fun) One sign (mine) of Love - Yes Sir! - Chester (Cook)". With Little's bookplate.Little had been a neighbour of theirs in Ischia, and it was while returning from dinner at his house that Auden made his surprising but serious proposal of marriage to Thekla Pelletti: "All I would say was 'WYSTAN!' which seemed somehow to settle things ... What would a distinguished middle-aged homosexual writer want with a giddy young woman? I was certainly no intellectual, I was aggressively heterosexual; we had practically no vices in common." The above from her very likeable memoir Wystan and Chester, in which she demonstrates just what Auden saw in her.The inscription is an extended doggerel verse, made while Little was visiting them at their summer home at Kirchstetten in Austria, where they had moved (a transition memorialized in Auden's poem Goodbye to the Mezzogiorno) from Ischia: Kallman's behaviour had become a little too wanton even by Ischian standards, and Auden had a terminal row with his house-boy Giocondo, who had the whole of the village on his side. A fine copy.

Stock Code: 137623