"IT SWINGS, LIKE A GOOD JAZZ TUNE": FIRST EDITION OF SIMPLE STAKES A CLAIM, INSCRIBED BY LANGSTON HUGHES
HUGHES, Langston. Simple Stakes a Claim. New York and Toronto: Rinehart & Company, (1957). Octavo, original gray cloth, original dust jacket. $2800.
First edition of the third book starring Hughes' "funny, sharp and indignant" hero, Jesse B. Semple, inscribed by Hughes in his characteristic green ink to the elusive African American poet, "With very best regards to Yvette Ripplinger, Sincerely, Langston Hughes."
"Following an invitation to the writers' colony Yaddo… [Hughes] contacted the Chicago Defender about being a columnist and was hired. In 1943 he created the beloved comic character Jesse B. Semple ('Simple')… who appeared in many of his Defender columns over the next 20 years" (ANB). This is the third novel in his series that featured Simple: "one of the more original comic creations in American journalism" (African American Writers, 169). To Hughes, "Simple personifies the genius of the Black folk for self-redemption in the face of adversity." Simple Stakes a Claim "is funny and sharp and indignant… it swings, like a good jazz tune" (New York Times).
Here and throughout the series, "Hughes combined powerful rhetoric with down-home humor to attack or reflect the conditions of African Americans at the time. He was eloquent and clear—and no injustice escaped his literary wrath" (Chicago Literary Hall of Fame). First edition, first printing: with Rinehart colophon of an encircled "R" above the copyright. "The 'Simple' books are very much in demand in their first editions" (Weinstein, 23; emphasis added). Blockson 6380. Bruccoli III:165. Inkstamp of New York's Negro Book Society on West 144th Street in Harlem.
Book fine; trace of edge-wear, tiny bit of tape reinforcement to verso of bright near-fine dust jacket.