First edition, first printing. Original red cloth lettered in gilt to the spine, in dustwrapper. A near fine copy, the binding square and firm, the contents clean throughout. The gilt lettering to the spine is a touch muted. Very light spotting to endpapers, offsetting to half title and the final page. In the neatly price-clipped dustwrapper, spotted to the spine, a touch rubbed and toned to edges and folds. A presentable copy of the poet's second book.

Fifteen years separate F. T. Prince's first book the simply titled 'Poems' (Faber and Faber, 1938) from its successor, 'Soldiers Bathing'. This is partly attributable to the intervening war (Prince served in the Army Intelligence Corps), but also owing to T. S. Eliot (an early champion of Prince's poems, he edited 'Poems' for Faber and Faber) turning down a second volume, feeling, as Mark Ford notes, quoting a letter from Eliot to Prince, that "Prince's poetry of the 1940s was 'straining after something too grandiose'". If Eliot's appreciation of Prince's poems cooled, he would later be taken up enthusiastically by later generations of poets, most notably perhaps John Ashbery and Geoffrey Hill. 'Soldiers Bathing' was eventually published by R. A. Caton at The Fortune Press. Ford suggests that Caton "was perhaps deceived by its title into thinking it might align with the gay erotica his press also issued". The poems are indeed alert to male beauty, but the appreciation is refracted by art and history ("Michelangelo in old age rhapsodising over the young Roman nobleman Tommaso de Cavalieri, or the Sybil recalling her affair with Apollo, or the poet admiring the young model posing for Cupid in Caravaggio's Amor Vincit Omnia"). The title poem (the poet's most anthologised poem) is followed by sections of 'Love Poems', 'Early Poems', and 'Translations from St. John of the Cross'. (Mark Ford, 'In Fiery Letters', LRB, 8 February 2018).

Stock code: 23897


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London: The Fortune Press.


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