First edition, first printing. Complete with the author's calling card with holograph inscription to the rear. Original stapled binding with pale brown paper covers, with publication details and contents printed to the front panel and four advertisements printed to the rear panel. Housed in a fleece-lined custom made box with marbled boards, quarter-bound in tan leather with a burgundy label lettered in gilt to the spine. The calling card is encased within plastic and attached to the inside of the box. A bright, clean and very well-preserved copy of this issue of the Harvard University literary journal, the wrappers fine except for a small diagonal crease to the lower front corner and a small (c. 3 mm) diagonal patch of loss to the rear upper outer corner. Page 128, featuring the poem by Cummings, has been diagonally folded over (dog-eared) to the upper corner. A very attractive copy with an intriguing biographical association.
'The Harvard Monthly' was the in-house Harvard University literary journal between 1885 and 1917. The contents listed on the front cover include, on p. 128 (the pagination begins with p. 111), "Poem. E. E. Cummings". Cummings (1894-1962) was at the time a Harvard student and a regular contributor to 'The Harvard Monthly' (this was his ninth appearance, the first being in the November 1911 issue). The twelve-line poem printed on p. 128 begins with the lines, "Do you remember when the fluttering dusk, / Beating the west with faint wild wings, through space / Sank, with Night's arrow in her heart? [...]". In his biography of the poet, Richard Kennedy gives an intriguing account of the context in which the poem was written and published: "One of Estlin's [Estlin being the second 'E' of the Cummings pen name] first loves was Amy de Gozzaldi, a dark-haired, dark-eyed beauty, the daughter of a Cambridge teacher of foreign languages [and] an actress in the productions of the Cambridge Social Dramatic Club […]. Cummings met her when he played the part of Micah Dow in J.M. Barrie's play 'The Little Minister' in May 1910, and came to know her better when he played Ernest Bennet (the second footman) in Jerome K. Jerome's 'The New Lady Bantock' in May 1913. One part of the action called on Cummings to kiss Amy, who played the leading role of Lady Bantock, but she intimidated him by her sophistication. At rehearsals the director continually encouraged him to be more bold. At length, on the night of performance he outdid himself in a kiss that he remembered for months. During the course of production, Cummings felt somewhat outpaced for Amy's regard by the elegant young man who played Lord Bantock, T. S. Eliot. But in the end he achieved a subtle triumph. A custom prevailed in the Cambridge Social Dramatic Club that the men would present gifts to the leading lady on the night of performance. Eliot brought a gorgeous bouquet of roses, but Cummings brought the ultimate gift, a poem—which later appeared in the Harvard Monthly." That poem was "Do you remember [...]?", which appeared in print one month after that kiss. The intriguing inclusion with this copy of the author's calling card (his full name printed in upper case) with the poem's first words, "Do you remember?", written in the poet's hand and underlined to the verso (as well as the dog-eared page featuring the poem) might suggest that this copy was a gift to Amy Gozzaldi. According to Kennedy, the couple continued seeing each other until 1916 when they "drifted away from each other". (Richard S. Kennedy, 'Dreams in the Mirror: A Biography of E. E. Cummings'; Firmage B9).
Stock code: 20424