RARE PRESENTATION / ASSOCIATION COPY OF THE LIVELY YEARS, INSCRIBED BY BROOKS ATKINSON TO "THE DEAN OF AMERICAN THEATER CRITICS" BOSTON'S ELLIOT NORTON, AND ADDITIONALLY SIGNED AND DATED IN THE YEAR OF PUBLICATION BY AL HIRSCHFELD WITH AN ORIGINAL SKETCH BY HIM
ATKINSON, Brooks and HIRSCHFELD, Albert. The Lively Years 1920-1973. New York: Association, (1973). Quarto, original black cloth, original dust jacket. $2800.
First edition, presentation copy, of this tribute to American theater, inscribed in the year of publication to one of the country's most famous theater critics: "For Elliot Norton, Brooks Atkinson," and additionally signed and dated "11/73" by Al Hirschfeld with an original self-portrait sketch by him.
This vibrant theatrical history is the second book collaboration between colorful artist Al Hirschfeld and powerful New York Times drama critic Brooks Atkinson. Illustrated with over 80 drawings by Hirschfeld and featuring Atkinson's reviews from 1920-73. This copy is inscribed to Elliot Norton, an acclaimed Boston theater critic known for his unique "play doctoring" review style in which he offered changes he believed would improve each play. Members of the Broadway elite such as Neil Simon and Mike Nichols read his reviews carefully and even made changes based on his suggestions. Indeed, Norton has been credited with shaping two theater classics: Oklahoma! and The Odd Couple. Norton was often referred to as "The Dean of American Theater Critics," both for his unique talent at reviewing and for penning well over 6000 reviews in his 48-year career. Pen annotations and underlining, likely in Norton's hand.
Book fine, dust jacket near-fine with a bit of wear to extremities. A handsome inscribed copy with outstanding provenance.