Stein, Gertrude. PORTRAITS AND PRAYERS. Random House, NY, 1934 (Second Printing). Dudley Fitts' copy, with a lengthy inscription to him from Stein (see below), and with his handwritten ownership name and date, 1934, all on the recto of the front free endpaper. 8vo., orange and purple woven cloth spine with paper label over cloth covered boards, the front board bearing Carl Van Vechten's 1934 photo of Stein at Bilignin, 264pp. This the first state binding; we have seen the Second Printing in full cloth in lieu of the woven spine and the pictorial boards. Some darkening and spotting to the boards, light foxing to the rear endpapers, two small chips to the paper label. We acknowledge with gratitude the assistance of Susan Holbrook, of the University of Windsor, who provided the following reading of the inscription from Stein's difficult to decipher script: "For Dudley Fitts, Yes there was not a play but if there had been no there would have been a play if there had not been Always Gertrude Stein. There does that make it clearer, our after-thought." Dudley Fitts, 1903-1968, was an American poet, teacher and translator, best remembered for his translations of ancient Greek literary classics (in his note at the end of the Iliad, Robert Fitzgerald says, "Until his death in 1968. Dudley Fitts gave the translation his strict and exhilaratiing attention."). At the Choate school in Connecticut, where he taught, one of his students was James Laughlin, an heir to the Jones & Laughlin steel fortune, who later founded New Directions, and published Fitts' poetry. When Laughlin traveled to Europe in 1933, Fitts gave him letters of introduction to Stein, Pound and others. Laughlin helped Stein by writing press releases about her forthcoming lecture tour to the U.S., and by drafting summaries of the various lectures she gave on the tour. Through this connection Stein was invited by Fitts to speak at Choate, and it seems likely that this would have been the occasion on which she his copy of the book (the position of his ownership signature in relation to Stein's inscription suggests that he already had the book in his librrary), and that the inscription refers to her visit to Choate and meeting with Fitts. Thus a nice association copy involving two important American literary figures.
Inventory # 11431

Price: $1,500.00