Hard Cover. London: Faber and Faber, 1939. First Edition. Very Good / Very Good.
First edition, first printing. Publisher's yellow cloth, with an illustration of two men in roller skates to the front board in red, spine lettered in red; in the original yellow pictorial dust jacket, with an illustration of a man and a line of dancing cats climbing up a ladder to the front panel, illustration of two men on roller skates to the rear panel, spine lettered in black. Very good book, with light toning to spine and board edges, light spotting to endpapers, contemporary ownership signature to front free endpaper, and some occasional soiling to pages; very good unclipped dust jacket, with some toning to spine and panel edges, light pencil mark to front panel, some rubbing to spine, shallow chipping to spine ends, some light spotting and dampstaining to rear panel (dampstaining is along right margin), and light edgewear with a few short closed tears to panel edges. Overall, a pleasing copy of the true first edition of Eliot's classic work. Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats is a collection of fourteen amusing cat-related poems, originally created for Eliot's godchildren, to whom he wrote letters signed under the pseudonym "Old Possum." Specifically, it includes "The Naming of Cats," "The Song of the Jellicles," "The Rum Tum Tugger," "Old Deuteronomy," and "Mr. Mistoffelees," among others. Throughout the verses, Eliot draws similarities between his feline characters and human personalities. This first edition's dust jacket and covers are illustrated with drawings by Eliot. An immediate success, the text was reprinted in 1940 with illustrations by Nicolas Bentley. Notably, Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats served as the basis for Andrew Lloyd Webber's 1982 beloved and long-showing Broadway musical, "Cats." In that same year, Edward Gorey released a popular illustrated version of Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats. Item #TSE049