SASSOON, SIEGFRIED. 1886-1967.
The War Poems. London: William Heinemann, 1919.
ix, -95,  pp. Original muslin, paper printed cover and spine labels. Well-rubbed, text block cleanly detached.
Provenance: Siegfried Sassoon (ownership signature); Samuel Behrman (presentation inscription); by descent to the present owner.
SASSOON'S OWN HEAVILY ANNOTATED COPY, PRESENTED TO S.N. BEHRMAN AT THE CLOSE OF SASSOON'S 1920 AMERICAN TOUR. Signed by the author on the inside front cover: "Siegfried Sassoon. Oct 15th, 1919." and inscribed on the head of the title: "To S.N.B. this copy; which has so many *associations which he can share! [signed in monogram] New York / Aug. 1920." Further annotations in Sassoon's hand comprise: 2 pages listing poems for 4 versions of his reading program, on the recto and verso of the front free endpaper along with a note as to timing and a reminder to "explain slang for "In the Pink"; a list of 29 venues for his readings from January 29 (Poetry Society of America) to August 10 (Cooper Union) on the title-page; a copy of C.H. Sorley's poem "To Germany" on the title verso; fair copy of his own "A Mystic as Soldier" on p 10; nearly every printed poem with note at end recording the place and year of composition in ink, several poems with pencil stress marks, indications of tempo, and a few word transpositions or substitutions; 2 pages of notes used by Sassoon to guide his commentary on his own poems, in part: "waste & brutality are known to all, (but no one thinks of them when a new war is being started) ... the warning cannot be too often repeated ... In types described noblest qualities ... Quality ranked highest. truth ... faced by unpitying machinery etc."
Phenomenal association copy, presented to Sassoon's closest American friend, the New York playwright Samuel Behrman [1893-1973]. Sassoon recorded a detailed account of their friendship in his autobiography, in part: "I had only one friend in New York with whom I could really feeland behavelike my ordinary self. It is true that this friend insistently regarded me as extraordinary, and had his own humorous views on what I ought to be like when behaving naturally. But in sympathetic and practical helpfulness he was unfailing. I have often wondered how it was that Providence, notoriously neglectful of inexperienced young men arriving alone in New York, should have come to my assistance by arranging that my nearest neighbour in Westover Court should be Sam Behrman, who was then working for the New York Times and doing odd jobs in journalism, and is nowI rejoice to sayS.N. Behrman, one of America's most conspicuous playwrights. During my first few days at Westover Court I knew of him only as a rather too diligently clacking typewriter in an adjoining flat. Tired and irritable, I probably resented the noise as a bit of a nuisance. If so, it was the only time Sam Behrman has been anything except a blessing to me...." (Siegfried's Journey, 1916-1920, 1946).