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This report is taken from PN Review 112, Volume 23 Number 2, November - December 1996.

The Death of a Book C.K. Stead

My book on Yeats, Eliot and the Georgians, The New Poetic, had a commendably long life, but a protracted dying. I wrote it, in my twenties, as a PhD thesis, under the supervision of Professor L.C. Knights while I was Michael Hiatt Baker Scholar in the University of Bristol. It was published first in 1964 in the Hutchinson University Library series edited by Basil Willey, King Edward VII Professor of English Literature at Cambridge (a Chair to which Knights succeeded Willey). Its next incarnation was as a Harper Torchbook in the United States in 1966, where it acquired the longer title, The New Poetic: Yeats to Eliot. Pelican brought out its first British paperback in 1967, and again in 1969 with a new cover. Hutchinson reclaimed it, and reissued it at intervals through the 1970s and on into the '80s as a handsome trade paperback. The strangest form it took (describing it in an accompanying brochure as a late classic of Imagist criticism) was as a hardcover in the American AMS reprint series, Des Imagistes, along with books by Pound, H.D., Richard Aldington, F.S. Flint, John Gould Fletcher, Amy Lowell, Ford Madox Ford, Remy de Gourmont, Wyndham Lewis, T.E. Hulme, Herbert Read, Arthur Symons, Harriet Monroe and others. In 1987 the University of Pennsylvania Press republished it as 'a classic in its field of scholarship', and encouraged me to write a brief reflective introduction.

By this time it had sold many copies - I don't know how ...


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