First edition, first printing. Numbered Limited Edition. Inscribed association copy. Single sheet (72 X 50.4 cm; folded size 25.3 X 36.5 cm), French folded to create four pages: (1) title page; (2) left half, mounted (eerily genuine-looking) facsimile of an early draft of the poem from a notebook; right half, the printed poem in an earlier version than that which appears in Cave Birds (1978); (3) Baskin's drawing of the Vulturess – the same illustration is printed on the facing page of the later version of the poem in "Cave Birds"; (4) Limitation page (this copy no. 148 of 250), signed by Hughes and Leonard Baskin. Woven, mould-made paper, two trimmed, two rough edges. A clean, bright copy, there are a few scattered, very light marks, most notable are a small, faint yellow stain, 1cm X 1cm with a small 2cm linear tail to the upper right of rear panel, and a spot the same colour towards the lower edge. The paper is lightly and unevenly rippled. (Sagar and Tabor A45). With a copy of "Cave Birds: An Alchemical Cave Drama" (1978). First edition, first printing. Original black cloth with gilt lettering to the spine, in the dustwrapper illustrated by Leonard Baskin. A fine copy, the binding tight and square, without marks or inscriptions. In the very near fine dustwrapper, which is immaculate apart from a 3mm tear to the top edge of the front panel. A lovely copy of the first trade edition of "Cave Birds" (Sagar and Tabor A46 b. 1.)
In addition to the signatures of poet and artist, this copy of "The Interrogator" is inscribed "To Christine + George / from Carol and Ted / When among wolves, howl and devour. / 2nd July 1975". The dedicatees are the poet George Tardios and his wife (Carol is Hughes' second wife, Carol Orchard). Tardios was director of Totleigh Barton, the Arvon Foundation's first residential creative writing centre in Devon. Arvon, founded in 1968 by the poets John Fairfax and John Moat soon became associated with Hughes. Lumb Bank, Hughes' West Yorkshire home, now serves as an Arvon Residential centre. Hughes supplied a glowing cover blurb for Tardios' first volume of poems, "Bull Song" ("His poetry leaves me with a very sharp brightly-lit memory. [...] There's an economy of sure phrases, and a radiance. He's an artist"). Published 24th May 1975. The line in the inscription about wolves can also be found as the third line of the unpublished poem, "Nine Jewels From Totleigh Mud", handwritten by Hughes in a copy of the 1973 Limited Edition of Crow (1970), also for the Tardios'. (The same line, as part of a rhyming couplet ("When among wolves, howl and devour / And you will mate with a wolf, in your worst hour") was reportedly inscribed in a copy of "Lupercal" (1960).) According to Sagar and Tabor, "about 300 copies were printed, of which 250 were for sale; price unknown". It was printed by The Scolar Press in Ilkley, as a contribution to the 1975 Ilkley Literature Festival (the same press would later print "Cave Birds" for Faber and Faber), for which the "Cave Birds" sequence was written.
Stock code: 18210