“WITH IRONWEED, WILLIAM KENNEDY IS MAKING AMERICAN LITERATURE”
KENNEDY, William. Ironweed. New York: Viking, (1983). Octavo, original half gray paper boards, original dust jacket. $950.
First edition of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, boldly signed by the author on the title page.
Fourteen publishers rejected William Kennedy's manuscript for Ironweed "until Saul Bellow, Kennedy's former teacher, heard of it. A strongly worded letter to Viking from the normally taciturn Bellow eventually led to the novel being published" (Parker, 575). On its publication, critics agreed with the Washington Post Book World that "with Ironweed, William Kennedy is making American literature." "The novel is rich in plot and dramatic tension, building as it eventually does, to a violent showdown between a gang of marauding American Legionnaires and a handful of derelicts in a hobo jungle. It is almost Joycean in the variety of rhetoric it uses to evoke the texture and sociology of Albany in the 1930s, particularly the city's Irish community, which by the time of the novel is in full control of the city's politics. And the book is remarkable in its refusal either to sentimentalize or trivialize 'life on the bum" (New York Times). The book earned Kennedy the 1984 Pulitzer Prize for Literature and a MacArthur Foundation grant. Kennedy also wrote the screenplay for the 1987 film adaptation, which garnered Oscar nominations for stars Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep. Later price sticker to dust jacket flap.
A fine signed copy.