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SECTION A: Books written, co-written or translated by Robert Graves


First edition:


Collation: 10 leaves, unsigned, sewn at centre.

p.[1] title-page; p.[2] blank; pp.3–17 text; p.[18] printer’s notice; pp.[19]–[20] blank.

18.2 × 13.7 cm. Bulk: 0.2 cm. White laid paper watermarked VAN GELDER ZONEN; all edges untrimmed. Bound in heavy dark red paper cover; all sides blank.

Price: Not for sale. Number of copies: 200. Printed early in 1917.

Contents: The Bough of Nonsense – Goliath and David – A Pinch of Salt –Babylon – Careers – The Lady Visitor in the Pauper Ward – The Last Post – A Dead Boche – Escape – Not Dead

Notes: Printer: Chiswick Press: Charles Whittingham & Co., Tooks Court, Chancery Lane, London.

Both the first and second editions of this bibliography date Goliath and David to 1916. More recent evidence confirms that the book was printed in 1917. A page proof of Goliath and David was sold in London at Sotheby’s on 18 July 1991. The only known copy, this proof had Siegfried Sassoon’s handwritten notes and corrections. This proof is dated “27.1.17” in Sassoon’s hand and Sassoon himself recorded on 18 January 1917: “This afternoon I sent Robert’s new poems to the Chiswick Press...,” presumably referring to an earlier set of proofs. A letter from Siegfried Sassoon, dated 27 February 1917, says that 118 copies of the book had by that time been distributed by him according to Graves’s instructions and that 82 copies remained at the printer’s for his disposal. In June 2003, the London bookseller Bernard J. Shapiro Rare Books had for sale a copy inscribed on title-page: “Sir Henry Newbolt from his admirer, the author, via his father, Alfred Percival Graves. March 9th, 1917. Captain 3d Batt. Royal Welsh Fusiliers.” This is the earliest dated authorial inscription I was able to identify.

I have examined a copy in heavy salmon-orange paper covers. The paper of the covers varies from the typical red covers in being finely vertically ribbed on the outer sides and smooth on the inner sides. The covers are smaller than those typically seen and do not extend beyond the edges of the leaves. The book is otherwise identical to typical copies of A2.

An unknown number of copies were lost during shipment to Graves while he was stationed in France.

Reference: Sotheby’s sale catalogue of 18 July 1991.

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