Paper pastedown on boards. String ties. . Near Fine. Clever light verse and charming watercolored vignettes, with the verse and artwork cross-fertilizing and resulting in an entirely novel homemade book, unlike any such effort we have ever beheld. N.d., mid-20th century. (A send-up of an Edith Sitwell poem first appearing in 1953 suggests the manuscript dates to the late fifties or sixties. Our sense, based on the poem, was that Sitwell was still alive at the time. The eccentric poet passed away in 1964.) Oblong, 15 by 19.5 cm. Unpaginated, 24 leaves, with content only on the rectos. It is unfortunate that the identity of the poet is unknown, as the verse are not only fun and funny, but also there is a coherence and uncommon evenness of quality. The verse manages to strike a satisfying balance between absurdity and restraint. Much of the verse relates to cuisine and edibles, directly and indirectly, and insects are another motif cropping up now and again, but these commonalities are secondary in creating the coherence we speak of. We think the word play on what might be regarded as a half-title page captures the esprit especially well: "A volume of vagaries and verses from the vitiated vortex of a virus victim -- Gems from the Germery". In the corners are two drawings of flies. Between the words and pictures, we would consider the former the more important, in contrast to most homemade books we have encountered. This is not to say the vignettes don't have a charm and polish, but rather, they are servants to the words, whetting our interest, adding a visual fillip, or the like. The cover has a patterned paper pastedown. The title is given, pasted to the front cover, on a shaped cut-out pen and ink drawing of a scroll and inkwell.
(Inventory #: 004994)
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