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by Stevens, Wallace

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  • Near Fine
  • first
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This seller has earned a 5 of 5 Stars rating from Biblio customers.
Cincinnati, Ohio, United States
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About This Item

New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1923. First Edition. Cloth. Near fine/good. First edition of Harmonium by Wallace Stevens, in the scarce first state dust jacket.. Octavo, 140pp. Blue cloth, title in red on yellow paper label affixed to spine. The first edition, with "Published, September, 1923" on copyright page. This is the third issue binding with full blue cloth. Solid text block, touch of wear to corners, a near fine example. In the publisher's first state dust jacket, $2.00 retail price listed on front flap, chipped top edge, lightly soiled panels. Some splitting along hinges reinforced with archival tape and Japanese tissue. (Edelstein A1.a) A delicate example of an incredibly rare dust jacket. Wallace Stevens (1879-1955) was an American modernist poet known for his complex and philosophical verse. His poetry often explored the interplay between imagination, reality, and the nature of perception. Stevens received the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1955, shortly before his death, and his works, including "The Emperor of Ice-Cream" and "Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird," continue to be celebrated for their innovative use of language and thought-provoking themes.


On Dec 11 2015, a reader said:
Review of Harmonium by Wallace Stevens

5 Stars

Reviewed by Sean Stuart

Date: 12/10/15

I recently purchased “Harmonium”, a collection of poetry by the poet Wallace Stevens. It was his first book and was published in 1923, with 81 poems in the original version all varying in length. I really enjoyed reading it and found a lot of the poems to be about nature. I thought the incorporation of great imagery in the peaces of poetry to be quite enjoyable. I believe Stevens did a great job of letting some of these poems almost come to life in my head filled with images of nature and thoughts of mystery all this while still making a poem that some people could find accessible. If you can’t understand it, or you feel that its inaccessible then at least it sounds like he’s saying it well.

An example of the great imagination and imagery in “Harmonium” is in the poem “Banal Soljourn”. To me this poem creates the scene of the sun rising over a house in the woods and the trees casting a shadow on the ground as it rises, “The sky is a blue gum streaked with rose. The trees are black.” (line 2) and as the sun rises it evaporates the moister off the plants so they can open up to the sky, “Moisture and heat have swollen the garden into a slum of bloom.” (line 4). Another poem that continues with his beautiful them of nature is “Fabliau of Florida”. This poem painted a scene in my mind of a moon lit beach on a cloudy night. It has a feeling of serenity to the poem that might calm who ever is reading it. As I said before Stevens goes into detail with his imagery, in stanza 3 of “Fabliau of Florida” he writes about the top of the ocean and waves “Foam” and the horizon of the night sky meeting together to form one dark canvas.

Foam and cloud are one.

Sultry moon-monsters

Are dissolving

Part of the mystery sense can be found in the poem “Disillusionment of Ten O’Clock”. The poem leaves the mind to wonder what is happening and for some may let the imagination take over and come to a conclusion on its own. In stanzas 1-6 of “Disillusionment of Ten” he writes:

The houses are haunted

By white night-gowns.

None are green,

Or purple with green rings,

Or green with yellow rings,

Or yellow with blue rings.

After a second read I found the mystery in it. I think he’s referencing a plane house with plane boring lives “white night-gowns” and because of these plane boring lives they won’t “dream of baboons and periwinkles”. I think Stevens wrote all this with the idea that people who lead boring lives and sleep in plane pajamas will not have exciting dreams, all that being said and the poem still does a great job of filling your mind with imagery.

Stevens does a wonderful job of keeping a reader’s mind on it’s toes. The book “Harmonium” bringing mystery and imagination to life in the reader’s head with many writings of nature. I would say it’s a great buy for any one who enjoys poetry.

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The First Edition Rare Books, LLC US (US)
Bookseller's Inventory #
Stevens, Wallace
First edition of Harmonium by Wallace Stevens, in the scarce first state dust jacket.
Book Condition
Used - Near Fine
Jacket Condition
Quantity Available
First Edition
Alfred A. Knopf
Place of Publication
New York
Date Published
The Emperor of Ice-Cream, Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird, Harmonium, Harmonium Stevens, first edition Wallace Stevens, signed Wallace Stevens, Harmonium Stevens dust jacket, Poetry Pulitzer Prize

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About the Seller

The First Edition Rare Books, LLC

Seller rating:
This seller has earned a 5 of 5 Stars rating from Biblio customers.
Biblio member since 2017
Cincinnati, Ohio

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Some terminology that may be used in this description includes:

Generally refers to minor discoloration or staining.
"Cloth-bound" generally refers to a hardcover book with cloth covering the outside of the book covers. The cloth is stretched...
The outer portion of a book which covers the actual binding. The spine usually faces outward when a book is placed on a shelf....
First Edition
In book collecting, the first edition is the earliest published form of a book. A book may have more than one first edition in...
Another of the terms referring to page or book size, octavo refers to a standard printer's sheet folded four times, producing...
Copyright page
The page in a book that describes the lineage of that book, typically including the book's author, publisher, date of...
Sometimes used as another term for dust jacket, a protective and often decorative wrapper, usually made of paper which wraps...
First State
used in book collecting to refer to a book from the earliest run of a first edition, generally distinguished by a change in some...
Text Block
Most simply the inside pages of a book. More precisely, the block of paper formed by the cut and stacked pages of a book....
A book in fine condition exhibits no flaws. A fine condition book closely approaches As New condition, but may lack the...

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