GINSBERG, ALLEN 1956 Mimeo of Howl
Lot 5370
GINSBERG, ALLEN. 1926-1997. Howl, for Carl Solomon. [San Francisco State College: typed by Robert Creeley and dittoed by Marthe Rexroth, May 16, 1956.]
Sold for US$ 74,500 inc. premium
Lot Details
GINSBERG, ALLEN. 1926-1997.
Howl, for Carl Solomon. [San Francisco State College: typed by Robert Creeley and dittoed by Marthe Rexroth, May 16, 1956.]
Folio (280 x 215 mm). [2], 15 ll, printed recto only in dark purple ink: [1] title; [2] dedication to Kerouac, Burroughs, Cassady, and Lucien Carr; 1-9 "Howl"; 10 "A Supermarket in California"; 11-12 "Sunflower Sutra"; 13-15 "America." Stapled in upper left corner as issued. Previously folded in three, spot to title and final leaf, final 2 ll slightly crumpled at right edge and lightly toned, a few other creases overall.
Provenance: sent by Ginsberg to his friend the poet Alan Ansen [1922-2006], a model for Rollo Greb in On the Road, AJ in Naked Lunch, and Dad Deform in Corso's American Express; purchased from Ansen by the present owner in March 1985.

ONE OF ONLY 25 COPIES PRINTED FOR PRESENTATION TO FRIENDS OF GINSBERG 2 months before the City Lights first edition, and inscribed on the title by Ginsberg: "To be published July 30, 1956—City Lights Bookstore Pocket Poets series Broadway & Columbus Ave. S.F. Cal. U.S.A With introduction by W.C. Williams."
Ginsberg introduced Howl to the world at a reading on October 7, 1955, at the Six Gallery in San Francisco. Lawrence Ferlinghetti immediately expressed his interest in publishing the poem under his City Lights imprint. At that time, however, Howl was in its infancy, and Ginsberg continued to develop it over the following months. One or two further minor readings took place, culminating in an event at the Town Hall Theater in Berkeley on March 18, 1956. By then, Howl was in the form in which it appears in the City Lights edition.
The excitement of that reading led to Ginsberg being asked to teach a class at San Francisco State College. He encouraged the students to share work, and one of the poems they typed and mimeographed for discussion was Howl. ("I practically take off my clothes in class myself to do it," he remarked.) Creeley, who worked for the Poetry Center, typed up the poem, and Marthe Rexroth ran it through the College's mimeograph machine. It was, as biographer Bill Morgan remarks, Ginsberg's first 'book' (I Celebrate Myself: the Somewhat Private Life of Allen Ginsberg, 2006, p 216).
He sent copies to T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, Lionel Trilling, William Faulkner, William Carlos Williams (who wrote the City Lights edition's introduction), and others.
In addition to Ginsberg's inscription, the present copy bears a few amendments in his hand, essentially typographic corrections. We have traced only one copy of the dittoed Howl at auction, being that presented to Robert Duncan and subsequently acquired by Jonathan Goodwin (his sale, Sotheby's New York, October 25, 1977, lot 390). Bonhams wishes to thank Bill Morgan, biographer and bibliographer of Allen Ginsberg, for his help in cataloguing this lot. Morgan A1.a1.
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