"ONE OF THE BEST I EVER WROTE" (GRAHAM GREENE): FIRST EDITION OF BRIGHTON ROCK, IN ORIGINAL DUST JACKET
GREENE, Graham. Brighton Rock. New York: Viking, (1938). Octavo, original silver-stamped black and rose boards, original dust jacket. $4200.
First edition of Greene's electrifying noir novel—"his first enquiry into the ways of man and God"—this American edition preceding the English edition by one month, adapted to the screen in 1947 with Greene's co-authored screenplay and Richard Attenborough as the sadistic killer Pinkie.
Following the success of A Gun for Sale (1936), Graham Greene drew upon news stories for this pivotal noir novel about a gang led by the sadistic killer Pinkie Brown. Although Greene claimed that his unforgettable characters had no living models, it has been suggested that barmaid Ida Arnold was inspired by Mae West, whose films had been reviewed by Greene. "West's description of herself as 'a girl who lost her reputation but never missed it' could be said of Ida." Yet Brighton Rock achieves a resonance that reaches beyond a tale of gang warfare or popular thrills. "There is a battle for Pinkie's soul between the powers of Good and Evil, as there was in the case of Marlowe's Dr. Faustus." Greene's questioning of good and evil makes this "his first Catholic novel, his first enquiry into the ways of man and God… It was to lead on to Power and the Glory  and End of the Affair " (Sherry I:637-649). Greene finished the novel in January 1938 and in May "worked on proofs of the American edition" (Sherry II:3). "Brighton Rock is an audacious book… It is a world of razors, bullies, poverty, false sentiments, torture and death" (Shelden, 203). Greene later noted that "Brighton Rock… is one of the best I ever wrote" (Ways of Escape). First edition, first printing, appearing one month before the English edition: with "Published in June 1938" on the copyright page. Greene co-authored the screenplay for the 1947 Boulting Brothers film starring Richard Attenborough as Pinkie—"the original sawdust Caesar, just as he is the slick-haired ted with a razor blade, Alex in A Clockwork Orange (1971)… It's hard to locate a real tradition of homegrown [British] film noir but Brighton Rock comes close to it" (Guardian). Miller 17a. Wobbe A13b. Hubin 180.
Book fine; light edge-wear, faint soiling, tiny bit of tape reinforcement to verso of distinctive very good dust jacket.