Autograph manuscript signed of his book 'New Poems' (London: Martin Secker, 1939)
London: 1939. From the Bart Auerbach Collection. 28 pages, 8vo, and 4 holograph preliminary pages and manuscript cover. Greenish-blue wrappers. Item #409556
John Gawsworth (1912-1970) had an active career as a literary editor, bibliographer, lecturer, archivist, and most of all, poet. He also served in the RAF in various European, North African, and Indian stations during World War II. He also achieved some celebrity as the second King of Redonda, though his later years were clouded by acute alcoholism and attendant poverty. Nevertheless, his career was prodigiously productive, with a long series of volumes of his poems appearing in print from 1933 onwards. As a young writer he moved in London literary circles championing traditional verse as opposed to the ascendant Modernism (a fact that led to his inclusion in the 1936 anthology Edwardian Poets).
The first of the preliminaries notes, in Gawsworth's hand: "The Original MS of 'New Poems', the volume for which The Academic Committee of the Royal Society of Literature granted me their Benson Medal, 1939. JG. N.B. The text contains three poems suppressed before publication." Those are 14, 18 and 19 in the manuscript, crossed out in pencil. Also in pencil are the final titles given to the poems, which previously were only identified with roman numerals. The final three leaves transcribe "The Seven Poems added to later draft."