John Ferguson was born in Stirling, Scotland in 1882 and died in 1928. His book of sonnets, Thyrea, was first published in 1912 and went through at least 14 editions in his lifetime. Named after the site of a famous battle in Ancient Greece, Thyrea deals compassionately and movingly with topics that are not considered typically ‘poetic’.
The subtitle, Sonnet Sequence from a Sanatorium, suggests the theme of several of the sonnets; Tuberculosis (TB) was a deadly disease that killed many young people in the 19th and 20th century. We assume that Ferguson was speaking from his own experience when he talks of life in a TB Sanatorium, drowsing “from hour to languorous hour, Throughout the sluggish day and slow-paced night”
The other sonnets in the collection concern circus performers and disadvantaged people; “Broken-down Actor” begins “I saw him drifting down a street of shows” and the last sonnet “An Out of Work Waitress of Fifty on her Beauty Cabinet” is an attack on ageism.
Published by Andrew Melrose, London, 1919. Fifth edition, enlarged.
An inscription on the flyleaf dated April 1923.
Good condition. Some staining on cover boards. Green wraps.