"WORDS ARE ALWAYS INADEQUATE TO EXPRESS THE COMPLEXITY OF A SITUATION": FIRST EDITION OF JENNIFER DAWSON'S THE HA-HA
DAWSON, Jennifer. The Ha-Ha. (London): Anthony Blond, (1961). Octavo, original red paper boards, original dust jacket. $750.
First edition, first printing, of this acclaimed account of mental illness "from the inside," winner of the prestigious James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Fiction, Britain's oldest literary award.
The Ha-Ha represents one of the first literary attempts to describe suffering from mental illness and the pain of institutionalization. Followed by One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and The Bell Jar, the novel paved the way for revealing, confessional novels that worked toward destigmatizing mental illness. In fact, Sylvia Plath was a known reader. In 1963, when Plath was visiting her friend, Jillian Becker, in Islington, she requested that Becker go back to Plath's flat in Primrose Hill to retrieve a copy of this book from her writing desk. "A remarkably talented first novel… a highly original novel of life in a mental hospital" (The Observer). "A cool, clever, well-constructed novel about—smoothly speaking—the nature of reality… Miss Dawson writes very well indeed, with remarkable calmness and detachment, and where she speaks in the mysterious, lucid voice of her derangement—this, to me, is brilliant" (Sunday Times). Contemporary owner signature.
Book fine, dust jacket with a couple faint spots of soiling and only light wear to extremities. Near-fine condition.