A Vision: An Explanation of Life Founded upon the Writings of Giraldus and upon Certain Doctrines Attributed to Kusta Ben Luka.
Hard Cover. London: T. Werner Laurie, Ltd., 1925. First Edition. Near Fine / Dust Jacket Included.
With frontispiece by Giraldus, and with two woodcut designs of The Great Wheel and a unicorn by Edmund Dulac. One of 600 copies, numbered and signed by Yeats, this being number 596. Publisher's pale blue paper boards with parchment half-binding with white paper label, pale blue endpapers matching binding, all edges untrimmed; pale blue dust jacket with white paper label printed in brown to spine. About fine, very light toning to front board extremities, and front and rear paste-downs and free endpapers, tiny smudge on the top of front board; dust jacket has a bit of smudging on the front panel, two small closed tears on the rear panel near the spine, a bit of creasing and a few small closed tears at the bottom of the front panel. A beautiful copy. Wade 149. A Vision is an ambitious work composed by W. B. Yeats that maps out an original and complex cosmology. The book received crucial contributions from his wife at the time, Georgie-Hyde Lees, through her employment of automatic writing, a process where the writer enters a trance-like state and channels spiritual forces. In a letter to the poet Ezra Pound, Yeats wrote, "On the afternoon of October 24th 1917, four days after my marriage, my wife surprised me by attempting automatic writing. What came in disjointed sentences, in almost illegible writing, was so exciting, sometimes so profound, that I persuaded her to give an hour or two day after day to the unknown writer." A Vision includes many of the ideas and themes that Yeats would explore in his later works. One reviewer said, "[Yeats'] late plays and A Vision have an almost symbiotic relationship; neither is quite comprehensible without the other. And, although the poems are amply sufficient unto themselves, many of them are significantly enriched and illuminated by an understanding of A Vision." Some of Yeats' best-loved poems were developed out of this inspired work, including "The Second Coming," "Sailing to Byzantium," and "A Prayer for my Daughter." This extremely rare first edition copy of A Vision is one of a limited first edition print run of only six hundred copies and is signed by Yeats himself.