"BRILLIANT": JAZZ AGE WRITER DAVID BURNHAM'S FIRST NOVEL, THIS OUR EXILE, 1931, WITH ART DECO DUST JACKET BY CLEON, WHO ALSO DESIGNED THE ICONIC DUST JACKETS FOR HEMINGWAY'S SUN ALSO RISES, FAREWELL TO ARMS AND IN OUR TIME
BURNHAM, David. This Our Exile. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1931. Octavo, original gilt-stamped brown cloth, original dust jacket. $900.
First edition, early printing, of Jazz Age novelist David Burnham's first novel, heralded on publication as "an event to be compared with… Hemingway's Sun Also Rises," featuring the bold Art Deco dust jacket by Cleon, chosen by celebrated editor Maxwell Perkins to also design the dust jackets for Hemingway's Sun Also Rises, Farewell to Arms and In Our Times, as well as F. Scott Fitzgerald's All the Sad Young Men.
Burnham's first novel, This Our Exile, came at a high point of the Jazz Age. Its publication was heralded as "an event to be compared with… Hemingway's Sun Also Rises" (Milwaukee Journal), and i was quickly praised as "brilliant… rich in flavor and deep in insight… his novel deserves as many superlatives as one can find for it" (St. Paul Daily News). Published soon after Burnham graduated from Princeton, the novel offers an intimate look at a wealthy family devastated by the illness and death of the family patriarch. This Our Exile is "an honest and sometimes moving tale about the mental and spiritual ills" of privileged young men (Vanity Fair). Burnham followed it with novels such as Wedding Song (1934) and later served in WWII (American Catholic Who's Who).
This first edition features the striking dust jacket by artist Cleonike Damianakes Wilkins, who worked under the pen name of Cleon. Her distinctive Art Deco designs and Hellenistic style also appeared on the Scribner's dust jackets for Hemingway's Sun Also Rises (1926), Farewell to Arms (1929) and In Our Time (1930), as well as F. Scott Fitzgerald's All the Sad Young Men (1926) and Zelda Fitzgerald's Save Me the Waltz (1932). Scribner's famed editor, Maxwell Perkins, "understood the value of an arresting cover." What film director Cecil B. Demille "had done for Hollywood, the artist Cleonike Damianakes had done for Scribner's: Cleon had made sex respectable" (Leff, Hemingway and His Conspirators, 51). Cleon's artwork, Perkins wrote, would attract "the feminine readers who control the destinies of so many novels" (Guardian). First edition, early printing without "A" on copyright page; dust jacket: with "Cleonike" signed in print on the front panel.
Book fine, light edge-wear mainly to ends of toned spine, small closed tear to lower front edge of colorful near-fine dust jacket.