Editio princeps

Karyotakis, Kostas. Nepenthe [Nipenthi]. Poiemata vraveumena sto Philadelpheio diagonismo.

Athens, no publisher, 1921.

8vo (140 x 215 mm). 78, (2) pp. Original printed wrappers with later green cloth spine.


The extremely rare first edition of Karyotakis's second published book, inscribed by the author to the Greek linguist Menos Filintas (Philentas, 1870-1934), "Gia ton K[yrion] Filintan", in pencil on the upper cover. Further, the book contains two autograph annotations by Karyotakis: a commentary "sic!" to a line in the poem "Eugeneia", and an inserted word "ma" in the third verse of "Don Kichotes" - a correction that does not appear in any printed version of the poem.

Kostas Karyotakis (1896-1928), one of the most controversial figures of Modern Greek literature, influenced a whose generation of readers, and his suicide at the age of 31 inspired a whole literary movement known as "Karyotakism". The present work, his second collection of only three published during his lifetime, takes its title from Baudelaire, who in "Les paradis artificiels" (1860) had referred to opium as "pharmakon népenthès", a painkiller. In contrast to his first collection, "The Pain of People and of Things" published two years earlier, Karyotakis's present poems no longer resemble dialogues with other people, but rather monologues about the experience of loneliness.

Edges of wrapper a little chipped, interior slightly browned due to paper stock, but generally in fine condition. Old library number pencilled to title-page by a previous owner. Very scarce: online catalogues cite specimens only at four research libraries (the Sorbonne in Paris, the University of Montpellier - Fonds Louis Roussel, at Princeton, and at the University of Chicago). The present copy is the second known signed specimen; the other survives in the Cavafy Archive at the Onassis Library, Athens.


OCLC 800481270.