“BEST WISHES, HARRY CREWS”: SCARCE FIRST EDITION OF HIS FIRST BOOK, THE GOSPEL SINGER, INSCRIBED BY HARRY CREWS
CREWS, Harry. The Gospel Singer. New York: William Morrow, 1968. Octavo, original green cloth, original dust jacket. $2400.
First edition of Crews’ critically praised first book, boldly inscribed on the half title by him, “For A—, Best Wishes, Harry Crews.”
Harry Crews’ novels brilliantly fused “comedy and moral outrage, which he combined and lighted on the page like diesel fuel. Their swaggering characters had outsize personalities; so did he… Crews came to wide notice with his first novel, The Gospel Singer, published in 1968. The book, about a traveling evangelist who meets a lurid fate in a Georgia town, features characters of the sort that would people his dozen later novels: sideshow freaks, an escaped lunatic and a sociopath or two… Despite their teeming decadence, or more likely because of it, Crews’ novels betray a fundamental empathy, chronicling his characters’ search for meaning in a dissolute, end-stage world. His ability to spin out a dark, glittering thread from this tangle of souls gave him a singular voice that could make his prose riveting” (New York Times). “His writing is rooted in the Southern Gothic tradition, but Crews has claimed other influences, notably the British novelist Graham Greene” (New Georgia Encyclopedia).
Book fine; tiny bit of tape reinforcement to verso of dust jacket. A scarce about-fine inscribed copy.