Welcome to Hard Times


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DOCTOROW, E.L. Welcome to Hard Times. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1960. Octavo, original half white cloth, original dust jacket.

First edition of this novel about a settlement in the Dakota Territory terrorized by a drifter, Doctorow's first novel, inscribed: "To Jackie. E.L. Doctorow."

"E.L. Doctorow's striking Welcome to Hard Times (1960) exemplifies perfectly the New Western or Post-Western by blending both Western and meta-fictional elements into a more sustainable fictional and mythical entity, in doing so revealing an alternative and more intriguing Western history. Above all, Welcome to Hard Times revitalized the 'literature of exhaustion' and 'silence,' as John Barth and Ihab Hassan respectively labeled it in the 1960s, by creating real fiction out of the remnants of the outdated genre… Welcome to Hard Times reflects Doctorow's initial and all-encompassing interest in re-writing the past, and above all, his belief in language as the primary myth-maker… Welcome to Hard Times remains an exemplary work not only for the revival of the western genre and novel-writing itself, but also for gaining a better understanding of Doctorow's approach as the writer of 'historical fiction'" (Jaupaj, European Journal of American Studies). "[T]aut and dramatic, exciting and successfully symbolic" (New York Times). The basis for the 1967 film starring Henry Fonda. Laid-in ticket from 2005 Doctorow event (presumably where this copy was signed). Laid-in typed slip reading: "Doctorow was sad, because all copies of his first book have aged. He told me they printed on cheap paper. He suggested if I would wrap the book in plastic wrap, it might slow deterioration."

Book with only a bit of toning to interior, dust jacket with only most minor rubbing and soiling to dust jacket. A very nearly fine copy, unusual in this condition.

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