Eliot, T.S.; [Evans, Walker]
The Waste Land
New York: Boni and Liveright, 1923. Octavo, original black cloth with gilt lettering. A few tiny marks to spine, lightest wear to corners and edges. No dust jacket. Housed in a custom clamshell box.
First edition, second impression, one of 1000 numbered copies of Eliot's signal work, an echo chamber of ancient and modern voices overheard in London between the wars: “I will show you something different from either / Your shadow at morning striding behind you / Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you; / I will show you fear in a handful of dust." As Eliot's bibliographer Donald Gallup notes, this stated “Second Edition" is more accurately a second impression, printed from the same setting of type as the first. This copy agrees with later copies of the first impression print run on all points, and bears the pencilled ownership signature of the great American photographer Walker Evans, with the note “New York/March, 1926" in his hand. Evans originally intended to be a writer, dropping out of Williams College to study in Paris, where he gazed, starstruck, at James Joyce across the aisles of Shakespeare and Company. T.S. Eliot was another of the living writers Evans most admired. In the first photographs Evans ever published, appearing in Creative Arts in 1930, he captioned the final image “Hurry up please, it's time," the insistent last call of Eliot's bartender in Part II of The Waste Land. (Trachtenberg, 241). Gallup A6b. An excellent copy, a direct link between two of the most important American modernists.