THE SWORD IN THE STONE

New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1939. First edition thus. Hardcover. 8vo. Blue boards in blue printed dust jacket. Spine sunned, jacket edges scuffed with several small chips. Pages toned. Ownership signature in pencil to ffep: "Gregory Corso / 1954 / Eliot House Harvard." Very good plus in very good minus jacket. The second of three variant editions: this edition with several textual changes from the 1938 Collins edition as requested by White's American publisher. The book would be revised again for the 1958 edition. Very good + / very good -. Item #23346

White’s classic retelling of the Arthurian myth, this copy ex-libris Beat poet Gregory Corso, signed by him in 1954 early in his stay at Harvard. Corso arrived in Boston the year of this inscription and crashed on the floor of his friends Peter Sourian, Bobby Sedgwick (brother of Edie), and Paul Grand’s Eliot House dorm (also noted in this inscription). Corso, essentially penniless, would even sneak into for dinner at Eliot House, before he was eventually recognized as an imposter. Archibald MacLeish, however, allowed him to remain as a non-matriculating student and later that same year Corso’s first published poems appeared in the Harvard Advocate. Corso published his first book the following year (with financial help from Sourian, Sedgwick, and Grand), a collection of verse that while occasionally  appropriating the nascent Beat scene’s jazz argot, was also a fairly conservative and formal collection influenced at least as much by the poet’s extensive but fairly classical reading. Indeed, Corso considered studying classics during his time in Boston, and one can imagine why a novel like White’s might have appealed. A small but interesting and revealing bit of Beat history.

Price: $400.00

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