“THE APPRENTICE WORK OF A MAJOR NOVELIST”: FIRST EDITION OF KEROUAC’S FIRST BOOK
KEROUAC, John. The Town and the City. New York: Harcourt, Brace, (1950). Original red cloth, original dust jacket. $2300.
First edition of Kerouac’s first book, by “John Kerouac,” published seven years before On the Road.
The only book Kerouac published under his given name rather than the more casual “Jack” under which he published his Beat novels. Kerouac later would disclaim the novel as too traditional, strongly influenced by Thomas Wolfe and William Saroyan, but it remains linked to his later novels by its autobiographical nature. (In drawing the three main characters of this novel, the brothers Joe, Francis, and Peter, Kerouac told Allen Ginsberg that he was splitting his mind into different parts and embodying each part in a different person.) “In The Town and the City, Kerouac is just beginning to test his ability to dispense with plot… [the novel] is the apprentice work of a major novelist… notable for the highly consistent symbolism Kerouac develops to deal with troubling questions like loss, sickness, and death” (Nicosia, 318).
Book very good with only faint spotting to spine; minor expert restoration to bright dust jacket. A lovely copy.