THE TRANSITORY VENUS: NINE STORIES. [London]: Horizon, 1948. Octavo, pp. [i-iv] v [vi] vii [viii] 1-188, original red cloth, spine panel stamped in gold. First edition. Nine stories, the author's first collection of short fiction. "In a prefatory note, the author thanks editors John Lehmann and Cyril Connolly for their encouragement. Connolly, especially, was an influential modernist critic and editor. 'I Have Been Drowned' is a nautical tale about a badly built boat which the author feels drawn to despite a gypsy's warning when he was a child that he would die by drowning; the minute description of his subsequent near-death experience (in a storm by drowning) makes this a borderline weird tale. 'How We Bought the Lord Angus' is tangentially another nautical tale. 'Over the Bridge' is a story about a young engineer who is losing his mind, told in the form of letters to his fiancee; has some imaginative touches about the dissociation of body and mind (or astral travel, if you prefer) but the ending is a little muddied. 'Literary' rather than 'commercial' prose, but fairly accessible, with a strong element of physical adventure (sailing, mountain-climbing, etc.). Oddly enough, in contrast to its modernist gloss, the material's exploration of morbid states of mind harkens back to the Blackwood's variety of romanticism in the early nineteenth century." - Robert Eldridge. A very good copy. (#117296).
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