Catalog 148, E-J
59. EVANS, Walker and AGEE, James. Let Us Now Praise Famous Men. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1941. The first edition of this groundbreaking book, combining highly literary reportage and documentary photography of such unembellished gravity that it has become iconic. This was Walker Evans' own copy, used as a working copy suggesting possible revisions for a future edition.
In the summer of 1936, Fortune magazine sent Evans and Agee to Alabama for a story that the magazine subsequently opted not to run. Five years later, Evans' photographs and Agee's text detailing their stay with three white tenant families in southern Alabama during the Depression instead became the book Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, a book that is credited with ushering in an entirely new style of reporting, literary and self-conscious, and with photographs that bridged the gap between photojournalism and photography as art. As such, it is viewed as one of the most important books of 20th century American writing and 20th century photography. Both Agee and Evans were acutely aware of the way this book would diverge from established norms of reporting and photojournalism: Agee's introduction states it explicitly, calling the book "an independent inquiry into certain normal predicaments of human divinity" and stating that while the "immediate instruments are two: the motionless camera and the printed word[,] [t]he governing instrument... is individual, anti-authoritative human consciousness." The attempt was to perceive their subject matter exactly as it was and to relay what they found without the embellishment of "art" or any attempt to distance themselves in some way from the subject matter. As such, the writer and photographer are present in the book in a way unlike earlier journalism or history, and Agee, in his introduction, invites the reader to participate as well, promising anonymity as needed. Evans has made several check marks in the margins of the introduction, particularly where Agree is writing about the photographs, indicating a remarkable degree of philosophical sympathy between the two, especially in a book as ambitiously conceived as this, with such a novel, even unprecedented, perspective.
This copy has Evans' ownership signature, with his office address on the Fortune magazine floor of the Time/Life building in Rockefeller Center pencilled on the front flyleaf, along with a date of "New York/August 1941," the month of publication. With a number of notes in Evans' hand on the rear pastedown and flyleaf, apparently written as he read through the book or had new ideas about one part or another of it, and with his check marks at various places in the text. The content of his notes concerns both the relationship of Evans' photographs at the front of the book to Agee's accompanying text, and ideas for photographs left out of this edition that might be added to a subsequent edition. The notes were obviously written at different times: some used a sharper or darker pencil than others; Evans' handwriting varies, too, sometimes larger or smaller, neater or more rushed. One gets the impression of Evans working his way through the book attentively, making notes as he thought of them, sometimes even returning to an earlier part of the book to record a thought. Within the text of the book, too, are his check marks, some of which correspond to his notes at the rear and others of which seem to be solely to record, and emphasize, his appreciation of a passage or an image or an idea. His deep engagement with the material is evident and is recorded for posterity, even if inadvertently. Walker Evans' photographs, a few of which had been published before the book came out, were recognized instantly as classics; Agee's prose, on the other hand, was mocked at publication. Quoting one particular sentence, the New York Times' reviewer said "For writing a sentence like this a freshman could be exiled from English 1-A." Evans' notes, however, indicate that the two were of one mind with regard to their work and their approach to it.
A new edition was published in 1960, which is when the book was first recognized, retrospectively, as a classic of both literature and Americana. The new edition had 31 more photographs added to the original suite of 31 included here, some of which correspond to Evans' notes in the back of this volume. Agee's prose, unchanged, helped provide the underpinning for the literary aspirations of the participatory journalism of the 1960s by writers like Truman Capote, Norman Mailer and Tom Wolfe. This copy is of necessity handled, with markings to the boards (including cup ring) and flaking to the spine letting. A very good copy, lacking the dust jacket. A copy of the 1960 edition is included for comparison. A unique copy of one of the most important American books of the 20th century, and one of the best possible copies, perhaps the best.
60. (Film). Film 67/68 and Film 68/69. NY: Simon & Schuster (1968-1969). The first two volumes in this series of collected movie reviews, with contributions by Pauline Kael, Andrew Sarris, Brendan Gill, Stanley Kauffmann, Richard Schickel, Penelope Gilliat, Hollis Alpert and others. Film 67/68 is co-edited by and inscribed by John Simon. Films reviewed include In Cold Blood, Cool Hand Luke, Ulysses, Far from the Madding Crowd, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, Bonnie and Clyde, Blow-Up, Persona, The Graduate, Marat/Sade, and others. Film 68/69 is co-edited by and inscribed by Andrew Sarris. Films covered include Charly, The Lion in Winter, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, The Fixer, The Sea Gull, War and Peace, The Green Berets, Rosemary's Baby, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Planet of the Apes, Yellow Submarine and The Graduate. Both volumes are hardcovers: fine in near fine jackets. For both:
61. (Film). The Man. NY: Paramount Pictures, 1972. "Handbook of Production Information" for this 1972 film about the first black President of the United States (played by James Earl Jones), written by Twilight Zone's Rod Serling and based on a novel by Irving Wallace. Twelve pages, including cast, credits, story synopsis, production notes and bios. Near fine.
62. FORD, Richard. The Ultimate Good Luck. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1981. An agent's copy of his second novel, a hard-boiled thriller involving American expatriates in Mexico. The front flyleaf bears two stamps of the Paris literary agency McKee and Mouche, plus the stamp of Shakespeare and Company, and one inked out stamp. Stapled to the first blank is a 4-page photocopy of the typescript of a review of the book for Atlanta Magazine by the novelist Thomas Cook. Ford was a little known writer at the time, and the regional nature of the review enclosed, by a Southern writer who was at the time more well known than Ford, is indicative of this. The agency stamps are again present on the title page, where the author has signed this copy with his name and the French exclamation Zut Alors!. Partly because of the weak construction at the rear hinge, which tends to crack, this title has become harder to locate, particularly in fine condition, than his first book. This copy is fine in a near fine dust jacket with a closed tear at the upper front spine fold.
63. (FORD, Richard). "Chicken Catchers" in Intro #3. NY: McCall (1970). Ford's first book appearance, in this "annual collection of the best college writing in America," published while he was an undergraduate at the University of California. Fine in a near fine dust jacket with a dusty rear panel and minor edge wear at the spine ends. Ford has signed his contribution and has also signed the entry for his story in the Table of Contents. Uncommon, especially signed.
64. FRAZIER, Charles. Thirteen Moons. NY: Random House (2006). The limited edition of the second novel by the author of the National Book Award-winning Cold Mountain, which was one of the publishing phenomena of the past decade -- a first novel by an unknown young writer that went on to sell over 4 million copies. That helped earn Frazier a reported $8 million+ for this novel, one of the highest dollar figures ever for a literary novel, if not the highest. This is one of 1600 copies signed by the author. Fine in a fine slipcase.
65. GALEANO, Eduardo. Vagamundo. (Buenos Aires): Crisis (1973). A volume by the Uruguayan author most well-known for his "Memory of Fire" trilogy, a massive re-imagining of Latin American history. This copy is inscribed by the author. Galeano was imprisoned in Uruguay in 1973 after the military coup there and then forced to leave the country. He went to Argentina where he founded the cultural magazine Crisis. His 1975 novel, La cancion de nosotros, won the Casa de las Américas Prize. Pages darkening; near fine in wrappers. An uncommon, early book by an important Latin American writer.
66. GALLANT, Mavis. What Is To Be Done? (Ontario): Quadrant Editions, 1983. Gallant's first play, written for television. Signed by the author. Gallant is most well-known for her short stories, and her collection Home Truths won the 1982 Governor General's Award, Canada's highest literary honor. A fine copy of the issue in wrappers.
67. GARCÍA MÁRQUEZ, Gabriel. The Autumn of the Patriarch. London: Cape (1977). The uncorrected proof copy of the first British edition of García Márquez's first novel after the worldwide success of One Hundred Years of Solitude. An ambitious, experimental novel: 269 pages in six chapters, each of which is a single paragraph, and each paragraph is only a handful of sentences. This copy is inscribed by the author on the half-title: "Para ____ Con todo mi afecto, Gabriel, 2001." An uncommon proof and especially so signed.
68. GIBSON, William. Spook Country. NY: Putnam (2007). The latest novel by the author of Neuromancer, among others, who is credited with inventing the "cyberpunk" genre of science fiction. Gibson's recent novels have been less overtly science fiction than previously: he seems to have found a way to delve into the extraordinary by simply using the markers of everyday contemporary life -- "conjur[ing] the numinous out of the quotidian," as one reviewer put it. Signed by the author. Fine in a fine dust jacket.
69. GILBERT, Elizabeth. Eat, Pray, Love. (NY): Viking (2006). Her runaway bestseller, about a three-country pilgrimage undertaken to heal from a divorce. Millions of copies in print -- the first paperback printing was 170,000 -- but difficult to find in the true first (hardcover) printing, despite an initial print run of 30,000 copies. Fine in a fine dust jacket. Together with the advance reading copy. A read copy: spine slant, covers splayed; about near fine in wrappers. Scarce. For both:
70. GINSBERG, Allen. First Blues. NY: John Hammond Records, 1982. A double LP set, Ginsberg's first recorded poetry set to music. In 1971, Bob Dylan persuaded Ginsberg to write and record music for the first time, and he joined him on a number of pieces. Those early recordings with Dylan are included on this set, along with sessions from 1976 with members of Dylan's Rolling Thunder Review Band and additional recordings from 1981. Fine in a near fine sleeve, stamped "For Promotion Only" on rear cover.
71. (GIOVANNI, Nikki). Black Out Loud. (NY): Macmillan (1970). A poetry anthology aimed at young readers and edited by Arnold Adoff, whose earlier collection, I Am the Darker Brother, was an A.L.A. Notable Book for Children. Collects Giovanni, Clarence Major, Langston Hughes, LeRoi Jones, Ted Joans, Sonia Sanchez, Gwendolyn Brooks, Margaret Walker, Don Lee, David Henderson, and many others. Inscribed by both Giovanni and Major. Fine in a rubbed, near fine dust jacket.
72. GRAVES, Robert and RIDING, Laura. A Pamphlet Against Anthologies. Garden City: Doubleday Doran, 1928. The first American edition, printed in Great Britain. A "word by word collaboration" by the two, with a foreword that takes to task every publication that diminished Riding's contribution to their previous collaborative effort. Graves and Riding lived together for a number of years in the late Twenties and through the Thirties, moving to Majorca, Spain, only to have to leave during the Spanish Civil War. Through a turbulent relationship, they wrote together and also operated the Seizin Press together. Ownership signature and a few light marginal marks to text (all in pencil). A very good copy in a fragile, spine sunned dust jacket, chipped at the spine extremities and corners and weak at the folds.
73. GREENE, Graham. Our Man in Havana. London: Heinemann (1958). The uncorrected proof copy of this comic spy thriller, considered one of Greene's best. It was the basis for a film starring Alec Guinness in 1959. Covers printed on the verso of the covers for Anne Piper's Green for Love, a practice that was common in the British publishing industry in the years after World War II. Spine darkened, with tiny chips to the base, otherwise near fine in wrappers. Scarce.
74. GUTERSON, David. The Country Ahead of Us, the Country Behind. NY: Harper & Row (1989). His first book of fiction, a collection of stories. By the author of the acclaimed Snow Falling on Cedars and the just-published The Other. Reportedly, nearly half the copies of this title were destroyed in a warehouse accident. Fine in a fine dust jacket.
75. GUTHRIE, A.B., Jr. The Big Sky. NY: Sloane (1947). The first in a series of historical novels about the settling of the American west in the 19th century. Laid in is an autograph note signed by Guthrie: "For Bill Henry, who likes Kentuckians, with best wishes and thanks from a guy who likes guys who like Kentuckians. A.B. Guthrie Jr./ New York, NY., Oct. 29, 1949. The show was swell!" Guthrie, who grew up in Montana, moved to Kentucky in 1926. Bill Henry was a radio personality on WMIK in Middlesboro, KY. Previous owner signature and date (May, 1947); near fine in a very good dust jacket with rubbing to the folds and shallow spine end chipping. The note has some edge-sunning; near fine.
76. HAWKES, John. The Lime Twig. (NY): New Directions (1963). Uncased, bound sheets of the limited edition of Hawkes' 1961 experimental novel. Published with a stated limitation of 100 copies, this is one of reportedly 13 overrun copies, unnumbered but signed by the author. Pages uncut; fine.
77. (HEMINGWAY, Ernest). Wisdom, Vol. 3, No. 26. (Beverly Hills): (Wisdom Society)(1958). Hemingway is on the cover of this issue, which features five essays on the author: "Hemingway and the American Novel," "The Motion Picture," "The Great Outdoors," "The Old Man and the Sea," and "From the Wisdom of..." Edge-sunned; near fine in oversized stapled wrappers.
78. HERSEY, John. Hiroshima. NY: Knopf, 1946. Hersey's classic account of the effects of the first atomic bomb ever dropped on a civilian population, tracing the bomb's impact on the lives of six individuals, five Japanese and a German Jesuit priest, the text of which first comprised the entire issue of The New Yorker on August 31, 1946, just over a year after the bombing. Inscribed by the author, with an added quote from the last pages of the text: "The crux of the matter is whether total war...is justifiable, even when it serves a just purpose." Collector's bookplate front pastedown; fading to boards; thus near fine in a very near fine dust jacket with just a touch of wear to the corners. A very nice copy of one of the most important books to come out of World War II. Scarce signed, and especially so with a quote of one of the most famous lines of the book.
79. HIJUELOS, Oscar. Empress of the Splendid Season. (NY): HarperFlamingo (1999). The uncorrected proof copy of this novel by the author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love. Spine and edge sunning; near fine in wrappers.
80. HILLERMAN, Tony. The Blessing Way. NY: Harper & Row (1970). His first book, which introduced Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn of the Navajo tribal police and began a series of highly praised and award-winning novels, as notable for their attention to the details of Navajo culture as for their dual-track plotting, where both a Navajo and a Western motive might fit the crime. Inscribed by Hillerman to Jim Paulson, the Southwest regional sales representative for Harper & Row: "To Jim Paulson -- who managed to sell even more of these than he predicted/ Tony Hillerman." A nice association copy: before Hillerman's novels became automatic bestsellers immediately upon publication, they had small first printings and were "hand sold," especially throughout the Southwest. A touch of fading to the spine crown; else fine in a near fine dust jacket with fading to the spine lettering and across the title lettering on the front panel.
81. HUNTER, Stephen. The Master Sniper (The Anger of the Sniper). NY: Morrow, 1980. The uncorrected proof copy of the scarce first novel by the bestselling thriller writer, who is also a film critic for the Washington Post. Several of Hunter's titles involve snipers, including a trilogy about a Vietnam War-era U.S. sniper. This title focuses on a German SS sniper in World War II, and the OSS agent assigned to thwart him. Originally titled The Anger of the Sniper, which title is printed here on the cover and prelims and changed by hand; this is an earlier version of the proof than the issue that had an adhesive label pasted over the original title, with the new title printed on it. Large number in pencil on front cover and slight corner crease; very near fine in wrappers.
82. IRVING, John. Trying to Save Piggy Sneed. (Toronto): Knopf Canada (1993). The first Canadian edition of his first collection of short pieces, published after the British edition (or possibly simultaneously; we've heard conflicting stories). Both precede the expanded American edition, which was published in 1996. Signed by the author. Fine in a fine dust jacket. Very uncommon signed.
83. JARRELL, Randall. Kipling, Auden & Co. NY: FSG (1980). Folded and gathered sheets of this posthumous collection of Jarrell's essays and reviews, spanning the years 1935-1964. Edge-sunned, a little spotting and creasing to the last page; near fine. Jarrell, a poet and also the author of one novel and several children's books, was highly respected for his incisive criticism. A scarce advance issue of this collection.
84. (JOHNSON, Denis). Jesus' Son. NY: Evenstar Films, 1997. The screenplay for the 1999 film based on Johnson's 1992 novel. Written by Elizabeth Cuttrell, David Urrutia and Oren Moverman. Reportedly printed for distribution to members of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences in consideration for nomination of Best Screenplay, which didn't happen. Claspbound pages; fine. Johnson had a part (Terrance Weber) in the film.
85. JONG, Erica. At the Edge of the Body. NY: HRW (1979). A personalized advance copy, consisting of photocopied sheets of the uncorrected proof, of this poetry collection by the author of Fear of Flying, one of the landmark books of the women's movement in the early 1970s. The sheets are inscribed by the author, and transmitted with both an autograph note signed on her personal stationery and a proof of the dust jacket, which is also inscribed by Jong. All items fine; in hand-addressed envelope.