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New York. 1981. Putnam. 1st American Edition. Very Good In Dustjacket. 277 pages. hardcover. Robert Nye (born 1939) is an English poet who has also written novels and plays as well as stories for children. His bestselling novel FALSTAFF published in 1976 was described by Michael Ratcliffe (writing in the Times) as 'one of the most ambitious and seductive novels of the decade, ' and went on to win both The Hawthornden Prize and Guardian Prize for fiction. The novel was also included in Anthony Burgess's 99 NOVELS: THE BEST IN ENGLISH SINCE 1939 (1984). Robert Nye was born in London in 1939. His father was a civil servant, his mother a farmer's daughter. He attended Southend High School for Boys and had published his first poem 'Kingfisher' in the London Magazine (September 1955; Volume 2, Number 9) by the age of sixteen. He left school in 1955 and did not pursue additional formal study. Nye's poetry has appeared in a number of important literary magazines including The Atlantic Monthly, Encounter and The Listener. The 1964 Fall and Winter issues of the Canadian publication The Fiddlehead contained respectively fifteen and eighteen of his poems. He was a conscientious objector during National Service in the late 1950s, and was given exemption from military service conditional upon joining the Friends' Ambulance Unit and serving as a medical orderly at St Wulstan's Sanitorium, near Malvern, and then at Rochford General Hospital in Essex. Between 1955 and 1961, he worked at a variety of jobs: newspaper reporter, milkman, postman, labourer in a market garden, and orderly in a sanitorium. Nye married his first wife, Judith Preyed, in 1959. In 1961, they moved to a remote cottage in North Wales where Nye devoted himself full-time to writing. There he developed an interest in Welsh and Celtic legends reflected later in his fiction for both adults and children. His first book, JUVENILIA 1 (1961), was a collection of poems. A second volume, JUVENILIA 2 (1963), won the Eric Gregory Award. Both volumes were enthusiastically received and Martin Seymour-Smith described Nye as showing a 'precocity unique in this century. ' This view was supported by G. S Fraser who in an article in The Times Literary Supplement convincingly established an affinity between Nye's early poetry and that of Robert Graves To support his continuance as a poet, Nye began to contribute reviews to British literary journals and newspapers. He became the poetry editor for The Scotsman in 1967, and served as poetry critic of The Times from 1971 to 1996, while also contributing regular reviews of new fiction to The Guardian. Nye started writing stories for children to entertain his three young sons. His children's novel TALIESIN and a collection of stories called MARCH HAS HORSE'S EARS were published by Faber and Faber in 1966. When Nye published his first adult novel, DOUBTFIRE (1967), it was described by P.J. Kavanagh as 'breathless' and 'brilliant', Kavanagh also referred to the author's ‘love affair with rhythms and language'. That same year Nye divorced his first wife. A year later he married Aileen Campbell, an artist and analytical psychologist, who provided the illustrations for BEE HUNTER: ADVENTURES OF BEOWULF and was an inspiration for some of Nye's most personal poetry of the time (notably 'In More's Hotel'). Campbell also designed the masks used in the 1973 performance of one of the author's more unusual projects, THE SEVEN DEADLY SINS (1974). The two moved to Edinburgh where they lived until 1977. Nye's next publication after DOUBTFIRE was a return to children's literature, a freewheeling version of Beowulf which has remained in print in many editions since 1968. In 1970, he published another children's book, WISHING GOLD, and received the James Kennaway Memorial Award for his collection of short stories, TALES I TOLD MY MOTHER (1969). During the early 1970s Nye wrote several plays for BBC radio including A BLOODY STUPID HOLE...
Very good jacket. Signed. First Edition. G.P. Putnam's Sons, New York 1981. Hardcover FIRST edition, SIGNED by the author, with a dedication to the previous owner. Held in original pictorial wrapper. Light edgewear to the wrapper, yet has not been price-clipped. Bound in black cloth-effect boards with gilt lettering to the spine. Several paint marks to the board. Only very light edgewear to boards, remains corner-sharp. Internally pages a little tanned, yet text remains sharp. Binding firm.
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