"THE HEART OF HARD-BOILED WRITING": FIRST EDITION OF CHESTER HIMES' COTTON COMES TO HARLEM, 1965
HIMES, Chester B. Cotton Comes to Harlem. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, (1965). Octavo, original half black cloth, original dust jacket. $950.
First edition in English of the sixth and best-known novel in Chester Himes' Harlem detective series, in original dust jacket.
Himes, famed for his series about two black NYPD detectives, read Dashiell Hammett and began writing while in prison for armed robbery. To biographer James Sallis, Himes is "America's central black writer. He stood squarely at the crossroad of tradition and innovation… creating a literature in its absolute individuality, in its strange power and quirkiness, in its cruelty and cockeyed compassion, ineffably American" (Chester Himes, xii). Himes' body of work serves as a defining bridge from the Harlem Renaissance to the hard-boiled novel, transcending genres in its "reflection of a life and aesthetic shaped by the absurdities of racism" (Nelson, ed. African American Autobiographers, 190). Cotton Comes to Harlem, the sixth novel in the series following Harlem detectives "Grave Digger" Jones and "Coffin Ed" Johnson, is the best known novel in the series; it was made into a film in 1970 starring Godfrey Cambridge, Raymond St. Jacques, and Redd Foxx, with a script adapted for the screen by Ossie Davis and Arnold Perl. First published in French in Paris (where Himes lived) in 1964 as Retour en Afrique. Reilly, 778-780. See Hubin II:I, 403.
Book fine, dust jacket near-fine with only light wear.