London: Humphrey Milford/Oxford University Press, 1930. Limited second edition. Octavo (8 1/4 inches tall), original patterned paper boards over gilt vellum spine, patterned endpapers, uncut, original plain glassine wrapper. Lower corners bumped, modest wear to scarce original glassine wrapper. A nearly-fine copy. Item #793
Deluxe second edition of Gerard Manley Hopkins's collected poems—no. 54 of only 250 copies printed—enlarged with an appendix containing 16 additional poems. After Hopkins's friend, the poet laureate Robert Bridges edited the 1918 first edition, Charles Williams of Oxford University Press oversaw the preparation of this important second edition, providing a critical Introduction to the Second Edition (dated "July 1930") and arranging the Notes to the Additional Poems. Williams makes note of the passing of the torch (Bridges died in April, 1930) in his introduction before moving on to the structure of the new edition and placing the author of "The Wreck of the Deutschland" in the traditions of English poetry.
Charles Williams began working for Oxford University Press in 1908, long before his involvement with C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien and the Inklings began. Williams remained at OUP until his death in 1945, flourishing in the Press's Amen House offices. "A few years after Williams arrived, the energetic, creative, and ambitious Humphrey Milford (1877-1952) became publisher. This proved a godsend for Williams, for Milford had a knack for taking successful risks not only with literary projects (for example, publishing Gerard Manley Hopkins when many critics considered his poems unintelligible) but with his editorial staff. He kept Williams on a very loose leash, expanded his responsibilities, and hired a handful of other eccentric, imaginative figures, including Hopkins's nephew, a brilliant translator also named, confusingly, Gerard Hopkins. The younger Hopkins later wrote that '[Williams's] affection for the Oxford University Press was, to no small extent, the moving force of his life. It shared, it symbolized, the fervent religious faith and the happy domestic love which rounded his existence. The City of God in which he never ceased to dwell, contained Amen House as its noblest human monument, and all who loved and worked in it were citizens with him.' " (Zaleski and Zaleski, The Fellowship: The Literary Lives of the Inklings). The contents of the second edition include: Early Poems, Poems 1876-1889, Unfinished Poems and Fragments, Editor's Notes followed by the second edition's Appendix and Notes to the Additional Poems. Illustrated with two fine portraits of Hopkins (1863 and 1880), separately printed and tipped to the page, along with two facsimiles, and the poet's own illustration for "The Vision of the Mermaids." The text is preceded by Bridges' original dedication, in Latin, to "Catharinae" and an undated Author's Preface by Hopkins describing "Sprung Rhythm." Oxford University Press also published a trade edition in blue cloth with a dust jacket in the same year. An excellent copy of a comprehensive and increasingly scarce early edition.