London: Faber and Faber, . 8vo. , 262 pp. Original blue cloth; printed dust jacket. Closed tear at top of front panel, some light chipping at ends of spine panel. Item #402300
FIRST EDITION. A FINE ASSOCIATION COPY, WITH A REVEALING LETTER BY ELIOT. Louis Untermeyer's copy, with newspaper clippings neatly pinned and laid-in at front and with a TLS from Eliot mounted on the pastedown, 16 August 1961. Eliot replies to the author-editor's request for a submission of a 6-10 page typescript, with an advance of $1,000, intended for children.
"I am afraid I cannot run to that length for a script intended for children of 6 to 8. Nor do I believe I could or should try to compose a children's story limited to a vocabulary of 250 words laid down in advance. I have only written verse for children, and I have always maintainted the view, judging from the children of my acquaintance, is correct, that children like long and euphonious words, without understanding them. Indeed, for me as a child, and I am sure for any intelligent child who likes reading the new and unknown words are part of the fun. They may even be words that the child would not use until it is grown up. So I am afraid I cannot be one of your distinguished contributors."
Untermeyer and his wife Bryna Ivens Untermeyer created a number of books for young people in the series Golden Treasury of Children's Literature. He edited for the Crowell-Collier Press the Modern Masters for Children Series in the 1960s. It is most likely for this that he solicited a submission from Eliot. Eliot's most famous work for children was 'Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats' . Gallup A69.