"A CLASSIC OF AMERICAN LITERATURE": VERY SCARCE FIRST EDITION OF AGEE AND EVANS' LET US NOW PRAISE FAMOUS MEN, WITH 31 PHOTOGRAVURES AFTER PHOTOGRAPHS BY EVANS—"AMONG THE FINEST EVER MADE"
AGEE, James and EVANS, Walker. Let Us Now Praise Famous Men. Three Tenant Families. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1941. Octavo, original black cloth, original dust jacket. Housed in a custom clamshell box. $5000.
First edition of Agee and Evans' powerful and pioneering documentary photobook on the Great Depression—"the epitome of the genre"—with 31 full-page photogravures, in very elusive original dust jacket.
"In 1936, on a journalistic assignment, James Agee and Walker Evans shared the lives of three sharecropper families in the Depression-gaunt South. Their report on the experience… became one of 1941s unforgettable books" (New York Times). A groundbreaking collaboration between novelist and photographer, "Let Us Now Praise Famous Men is regarded today as a classic of American literature… Evans' photographs—his only excursion into 'true' documentary—remain amongst the finest ever made" (Parr & Badger I:144). At the time of publication, Lionel Trilling called this "the most important moral effort of our American generation" (Kenyon Review). Published in a small edition—the book was not to be reissued until 1960—copies of the first edition of Let Us Now Praise Famous Men are extremely scarce and very desirable. Roth, 108-9.
Book with mild tonight to top edge, dust jacket with a bit wear to extremities, including a faint crease to the spine, which has the usual toning. A near-fine copy.