Item #409428 Two exceptional letters signed ("Sidney Lanier") to John Foster Kirk, editor of 'Lippincott's Magazine'; Baltimore, 24 August 1878 and 15 June 1880. Sidney LANIER.

Two exceptional letters signed ("Sidney Lanier") to John Foster Kirk, editor of 'Lippincott's Magazine'; Baltimore, 24 August 1878 and 15 June 1880

From the Bart Auerbach Collection. A total of 12 pages, 8vo, in ink, both letters with a few minor horizontal fold separations, but in very good condition. With an apparently unrecorded photographic portrait of Lanier. Item #409428

ALS of 24 August 1878: 7 pages, blue ink on white paper, with numerous revisions. The letter is a lengthy proposal to Kirk for writing an introduction for the use of colleges and universities to a book of worthy English sonnet writers through Shakespeare. This would include many minor Elizabethans and would introduce Bartholomew Griffin, "a poet to our public of whom probably not a hundred persons in the United States have ever heard... though beyond question worthy of any man's acquaintance." This project plus a paper on "Old Sonnet-Makers" for the magazine were turned down by Lippincott's.

ALS of 15 June 1880: 5 pages, dark brown ink on gray-tan paper, with revisions. Lanier begins: "With inexpressible delight I've got a signing-pen [for the writing of poetry] in my hand. [He encloses his poem "Individuality.] After eight months of book making [his 'The Science of English Verse', published that May 13] and lecture making and teaching and dreary hackwork of many sorts." For most of the letter Lanier gives his views against the theory of evolution. He then returns to his own poetry: "... I find, in looking over my poem ["Individuality"], that it has made itself into a passionate re-affirmation of the artist's autonomy; threatened alike from the direction of the scientific fanatic and the pantheistic devotee. I ought to add that the title refers to a collection of poems connected with the Marches of Glynn County, Georgia, which I have partly in memorandums and expect to issue in book-form when a few more are done. [Lanier died September 1881 before this project could be realized.] My 'Marshes of Glynn' [his most celebrated poem], which was so successful when published without my name a few months ago in 'The [sic] Masque of Poets' [actually in 1878], will be the No. 1 of the series."

WITH: Original large tintype bust portrait of Lanier. 6 3/4 x 4 inches, taken ca 1876-81. Condition: some minor loss of emulsion to edges, slight surface scuffing.

Letters and photographs of Lanier are very rare. (BA).

Price: $8,500.00

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