After Two Years

GREENE, Graham

GREENE, Graham After Two Years

[Privately printed for the author] Rosaio Press, 1949.

Sole edition. Number 6 of 25 copies. Original paper wrappers printed in black and red, with original glassine wrapper. Housed in custom chemise and slipcase. A fine copy.

This little book consisting of eight love poems was produced to celebrate the first twenty-four months of Greene's love affair with Catherine Walston, which he later famously fictionalised in The End of the Affair. The production was a deeply personal one, a genuine private edition printed for circulation only amongst close friends. The poems were all written for Walston and the book is dedicated to her.
Greene and Walston met in 1946 as a result of the latter's conversion to Catholicism, a decision influenced by reading Greene's novels. The following year they embarked on an affair that would last until the late 1950s and formed a period in Greene's life which was significant both personally and in his work; "one in which Greene became a major international literary celebrity, the writer of The Heart of the Matter and The End of the Affair who was being considered for the Nobel Prize, a heavyweight Catholic intellectual, screenplay writer for a trio of classic films, traveller to and writer about the world's hotspots" (Wise & Hill). Against this, the affair provoked "a period of great unrest", as he confessed later in Ways of Escape.
The affair also produced an effusion of poetry, written either on notepaper and enclosed among the some 1,200 letters he sent her, or inscribed into a clothbound 'Black Book' he bought for Walston. From these, he selected eight poems to print in After Two Years for Christmas 1949, and had the book privately printed by The Rosaio Press, named for Greene's villa in Anacapri where he composed the titular poem, and a place of escape for Catherine and him.
Although twenty-five copies were printed, Greene distributed few fearing that, in the wrong hands, they might make the affair public. It seems likely that as few as six copies were given away, the remainder destroyed by Greene when he moved house.
The following copies are currently known.
Copy No 1: Walston's copy (now in the Greene-Walston collection at Georgetown University)
Copy No 2: Greene's copy, inscribed by Walston to Greene (private collection)
Copy No 3: Bonte Durant, Walston's sister, sold at auction in 2000 for £20,700.
Copy No 4: Evelyn Waugh (private collection).
Copy No 6: The present copy
Prior to the sale of John Hayward's Library in 1966, Greene wrote to Anthony Hobson asking that he not include After Two Years in the sale, the poems being of "an extremely intimate kind" and adding that it was only his dear friendship with Hayward that "made me rash enough to give them to him." This may be the errant copy no. 5 or this copy.
In the late 1970s, Greene's early bibliographer and biographer Robert Miller wrote to him asking for details of this and another book of verse written for Walston. Greene refused to offer any information in reply, adding they had "never been for sale and are purely private."

Stock ID: 44563

£30,000.00

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