FIRST EDITION OF LANGSTON HUGHES' AND ROY DECARAVA'S SWEET FLYPAPER OF LIFE INSCRIBED BY DECARAVA IN THE YEAR OF PUBLICATION
HUGHES, Langston, DECARAVA, Roy. The Sweet Flypaper of Life. New York: Simon and Schuster, (1955). Small octavo (4-3/4 by 7-1/8 inches), original photographic and textual wrappers. Housed in a custom clamshell box. $2600.
First edition of this landmark collaboration between Hughes and DeCarava, inscribed on the page opposite the title page in the year of publication, "11-6-55, Best wishes, Roy DeCarava," the preferred softcover edition, containing Hughes' lyrical text and 141 engaging photogravures by DeCarava.
Guggenheim Award-winner Roy DeCarava is considered "the spiritual 'father' of much contemporary African American photography" (New York Times). Langston Hughes, already "acknowledged as the most influential black writer of his generation, and as one of the greatest American poets of all time here composed a fictional story to accompany DeCarava's images, creating a lyrical tale about imaginary characters to go with photographs of real people" (Roth, 138). "An important step forward" in the history of photobooks, Sweet Flypaper of Life proved especially significant in its "design, featuring a pacy, cinematic style" (Parr & Badger II:242). "The book won two awards, received critical acclaim in The New York Times Book Review… sold out its first edition, and was reprinted many times. It is one of the most successful collaborations between a great writer and a great photographer ever published" (Roth, 138). Scarce preferred first softcover edition with text beginning on front wrapper, text block on page 3; published the same year as the first cloth edition. "First Printing" stated on copyright page. Open Book, 160. Bruccoli & Clark 3, 164.
Only lightest toning to spine, tiny closed marginal tear to one leaf. A highly desirable about-fine inscribed copy.