The Trembling of The Veil. Limited Signed Edition (1922)
Author: W.B. Yeats
Book ID: 66176
The Trembling of The Veil. London: T. Werner Laurie, 1922. First Edition, Limited Issue. Pp vii, 247, all edged untrimmed. Frontispiece portrait of Yeats by Charles Shannon. Quarter parchment over paper boards, title label to spine. Water stain to upper cover, toning to boards, contents in fine bright condition. Housed in slipcase.
Limited Edition of One Thousand Numbered Copies Signed by the Author.
The Trembling of the Veil is dedicated to Yeats’ Irish-American patron, John Quinn. Quinn was a great benefactor to artists of the avant garde as an art collector and patron. The first part, Book I: Four Years: 1897-91 had already been published by the important small press Cuala Press. which was founded and managed by Yeats, his sisters and socialist-feminist Evelyn Gleeson at the beginning of the century. All of the other chapters had previously appeared in periodicals such as The London Mercury and the Dial. The manuscript was amplified and edited in Thoor Ballylee. In June it was sent to the publisher T. Werner Laurie in London against an advance of £500.
The Trembling of the Veil takes its title from a line by the French symbolist poet, Stephen Mallarme which Yeats had heard and written down many years before, at a reading given by the writer/historian Arthur Symons: ‘ The whole age is troubled by the trembling of the veil of the Temple.’ The idea behind this phrase gives unity and direction to what might otherwise appear to be a somewhat disconnected reminiscence on the lives and works of many of the writers and other artists, notably painters, with whom Yeats was professionally involved in England, France and Ireland in the decade of the 90’s.
The Trembling of the Veil was the second of Yeats’s seven autobiographical works, and was described by Arthur Symons as “an absolute masterpiece: far & away the best thing [Yeats] has ever done” (Ross, p. 559). The following year, Yeats was awarded the Nobel prize in Literature.