The poetry of learning

Berkeley: Archetype Press, 1975-85. The collection includes 26 printed scrolls (that for the lettes A and B are supplied in Xerox facsimile), some rolling out to about 15 feet in length, each with the text of this epic poem arranged in columns, each in a tube beautifully covered in various colors of hand-made papers. The edition size varies and may be in question; it is doubtful that the edition size was ever as large as 100 for any of the one scrolls, the edition of some is a stated forty, and a few may even be less. "These scrolls," Emerson Wulling wrote about Bentley (A Comp's-Eye-View of Wilder Bentley and the Archetype Press), "are a humanistic autobiography of life lived on the border of materialism...written in various metrical forms. This is a typographical and literary accomplishment. One thinks of the Education of Henry Adams as being like The Poetry of Learning. Both are life views. Adams is a historian among whose symbols of life is the dynamo. Bentley is a man of letters who lives with a printing press. Both use their education as bases for reviewing their lives in context with their times. In doing so they offer substantial thought about human values. The early scrolls are largely narrative and descriptive about travels in Europe, about teaching, about printing. The later scrolls are more epigrammatic, about people, about current events, about environment. All are written in more or less traditional English poetic diction, with occasional sly puns. They read comfortably despite several rigorous structures: terza rima, sonnet, canzone, sestet, and free verse." Bentley was one time Laboratory Assistant at the Laboratory Press, Carnegie Institute of Technology where he worked 1930-34, and from then on in Berkeley. Scroll A is in facsimile but the tube is original; scroll B has been reproduced on water-marked paper, but the tube is blue cardboard. All else fine or better, as issued. Item #17005

Price: $1,500.00

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