The Savage God. A Study of Suicide
New York: Random House, 1972. 1st US Edition. Octavo, publisher's black cloth over red paper-covered boards, spine and upper board gilt; original dust jacket.
"It is as though she had decided that, for her poetry to be valid, it must tackle head-on nothing less serious than her own death, bringing to it a greater wealth of invention and sardonic energy than most poets manage in a lifetime" (Álvarez on Plath). First US edition of poet and literary critic A. Alvarez’s provocative study of "the final taboo of human behavior." Inspired by his close friend and putative lover Sylvia Plath’s suicide, along with his own unsuccessful attempts, Alvarez’s comprehensive and compassionate study traces the history of suicide through sociocultural, psychoanalytic, and personal perspectives while tackling the harmful misconceptions of those who have died by the fatal choice. Opens with an extensive and harrowing chronicle of his time spent with Plath during her final days and concludes with revealing reflections of his own attempts. With endnotes and index. Originally published in the UK in 1971. Stated first edition on the copyright page, with 2 the lowest number in number row, indicating first printing per the publisher's custom. Dust jacket designed by Muriel Nasser. Two minor nicks to upper board, light wear to unclipped jacket. Near fine. Item #6454