1951. London: Jonathan Cape, 1951.
8vo, 215 pp. Original red cloth, blind-stamped hawk's foot motif to upper board, backstrip lettered in silver, red topstain, near fine with faint traces of an erased inscription on the front free endpaper; original unclipped pictorial dustjacket, a little darkened and with some tape repairs to the inner side. Very good overall.
§ First edition of White's remarkable, autobiographical account of his attempt to train a hawk, a battle of wills as much between White and himself as between White and his hawk. White was already well-known for his Arthurian cycle beginning with The Sword in the Stone when this book was published to the consternation of his admirers. A forward written by Helen MacDonald for a recent edition described it thus: "“The Goshawk is a fable about selfhood and the exercise of power as much as it is a book about a man and a bird. You can read it as an investigation into the nature of freedom, of education, power, war, history, class, enslavement, the English landscape and the workings of the human heart… In our present age of terrible environmental destruction, it can be read most usefully as a book about humanity’s lamentable inability to see nature as anything other than a mirror of ourselves.” MacDonald's own prize-winning account of training a goshawk, H is for Hawk (2014), took White's story and wove it with her own. Item #122860