Diessen: Roving Eye Press, 1930

Small 8vo, pp. 151. Original brown stiff paper wrappers, lettered in gilt to front panel. Bookplate of Anthony Hobson to inner front wrapper. Small chip to rear panel and at spine ends, otherwise a very well preserved copy of a poorly made book.

First edition of only the second book published by Roving Eye Press. Auctioneer and bibliophile Anthony Hobson's copy, with his bookplate to inner front wrapper.

While everyone waited hopefully to be published in Jazz Age Paris, Bob Brown jumped the queue by setting up his own publishing house. Roving Eye Press was one of the smaller expatriate imprints, but it was also one of the more exuberant -- unsurprising, given its proprietor. Bob Brown [1886-1959] was a prolific and very successful jobbing writer who became an enthusiastic convert to Modernism after attending the 1913 International Exhibition of Modern Art in New York, known forever since as the Armory Show. Strongly influenced by his friend Marcel Duchamp, Brown took Duchamp's idea of capturing objects and ideas in an automatic, unthought artistic response, and transposed it into his own medium of words. The result was a series of poems Brown called 'opticals', a stylistic forerunner of the Concrete Poetry movement of the 1950s. Other innovations of Brown's in a bewilderingly wide-ranging career included 'Readies', a sort of automated writing designed to be read on a Reading Machine -- also invented by Bob Brown, who had been inspired to build it while watching the ticker tape machine during a brief but highly successful parallel career on Wall Street.

Globe-Gliding is one of Brown's more conventional offerings, a collection of poems inspired by his wide-ranging travels. Like all of Brown's first editions it is very scarce, and this copy is a very well preserved example.

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