The Tower. First Edition (1928)
Book ID: 65372
The Tower. London: Macmillan, 1928. First Edition. Pp, 110, uncut & unopened. Olive green cloth, designed in gilt by Sturge Moore, depicting ‘The Tower’ of Ballylee, Co. Galway. Without dust jacket. Bookplate to front pastedown. A fine bright copy. [Wade 158].
In 1928–the year he turned 63–the then-world-famous poet William Butler Yeats published a slim, beautifully-produced volume called The Tower. Yeats had received the Nobel Prize in 1923, and the book was awaited with considerable anticipation. The book’s title referred explicitly to ‘Thoor Ballylee,’ a derelict Norman stone tower located near Coole Park, the estate owned by Yeats’ friend Lady Gregory. Yeats had purchased Thoor Ballylee in 1917. After the tower was restored, it became a summer home for himself and his wife, Georgie Hyde-Lees. The Tower contained some of what were to be the poet’s most famous, most explicated poems. Yeats himself was very pleased with The Tower’s reception. He wrote his friend Lady Gregory that “Tower is receiving great favour.”
Thomas Sturge Moore (1870 1944) was an English author, poet and wood engraver especially noted for his bookplate designs. He designed several bindings for Yeats, however this is by far his most notable one. The beautiful image on the upper cover shows Thoor Ballylee reflected in the still water below it. The image suggests both Yeats’ poetic self-reflection–the meditative quality of his verse.
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