"EXTRAORDINARY DIGNITY AND POWER": SIGNED LIMITED EDITION OF DREISER’S MASTERPIECE, AN AMERICAN TRAGEDY, 1925, EXCEEDINGLY RARE "PRESENTATION COPY" INTENDED FOR FRIENDS AND ASSOCIATES
DREISER, Theodore. An American Tragedy. New York: Boni & Liveright, 1925. Two volumes. Octavo, original three-quarter beige cloth, uncut and unopened, original glassine, original slipcase. $3800.
Signed limited edition, signed by Dreiser, this very rare copy with publisher's "Presentation Copy" on limitation page and original slipcase, one of a very small number of copies intended for associates and close friends, issued along with 795 numbered signed copies, an especially fine copy, entirely unopened and uncut in original glassine and slipcase.
A novel of "extraordinary dignity and power" (New Yorker), Dreiser's American Tragedy is based on the murder case of Chester Gillette, "who in 1906 had killed his pregnant girl friend Grace Brown when the illicit relationship threatened his getting ahead socially and economically in his small town in upstate New York… Dreiser's final title emphasized his painstaking demonstration that the false values of American society were more responsible for the crime than the individual will" (DAB). "In 1930, the year D.H. Lawrence died, the seven judges sitting on the highest court of Massachusetts agreed to a man that Dreiser's 840-page novel An American Tragedy—his most popular book and the one many critics consider Dreiser's best—was 'obscene, indecent and manifestly tending to corrupt the morals of youth" (de Grazia, 98). Dreiser did not publish another novel for 20 years. With publisher's stamps of "Presentation Copy" on both limitation page and original slipcase: one of a small number set aside by the publisher for associates, as well as close friends of Dreiser, issued together with signed limited edition of 795 copies published shortly after the first trade edition. With rare original glassine; slipcase spine with trace of label removal. Banned Books 81. McDonald 18B. Orton 34.
A fine copy.