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Art and Letter: Word and Sign (Poems & Masks, Austin Osman Spare) (New)

by Wainwright, Vera

Publisher: I-H-O/Mandragora

Binding: Paperback

Book ID: 9781872189420, 1872189423


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Vera Wainwright was introduced to Spare by Victor Neuburg, they became friends, exchanging many letters and in due course Spare supplied six illustrations for a small book of poems by Wainwright which was first published as Poems and Masks by Toucan Press in 1968.

Art and Letter: Word and Sign reproduces Poems and Masks with many additional illustrations by Spare and a previously unpublished Wainwright poem. It includes both the original introduction by Stacey Biswas Day and her much longer introduction from the second edition.

Published for the first time are ninety-one of Vera Wainwright’s letters to Spare from 1943 -1946. These show that their relationship was far more than professional -- evidently she supported Spare and they planned to live together -- this was not to be.

Spare spent his last years in the company of Millicent Paine and it is speculated as to whether he treated Vera at all fairly.

Also included is a biography of Vera Wainwright by J Stevens Cox and a biography of Austin Spare by Wainwright.

Appendices include:

  • A discussion concerning the designs by Spare published in the original Toucan Press edition with some speculation as to sources and showing where similar designs were also used
  • A short piece by Spare entitled Fragmenta (mentioned in Wainwright’s letters)
  • A section on Spare from Adventures with Inspiration by Hannen Swaffer along with a coloured portrait of Swaffer by Spare
  • Two poems by Victor Neuburg from The Triumph of Pan which were dedicated to Spare.
Art and Letter : Word and Sign is filled with over sixty-five of Spare’s illustrations, two colour plates and four photographs, making it a fine addition to any collection as well as an intriguing snapshot of Spare’s life.

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