"TO BRAD, WHOSE ROTOBROILED LOBSTER CARRIED ME THROUGH THE FIRST CHAPTERS…": FIRST EDITION OF A SEPARATE PEACE, SCARCE PRESENTATION/ASSOCIATION FIRST EDITION, WARMLY INSCRIBED BY JOHN KNOWLES TO HIS LONGTIME FRIEND AND ROOMMATE
KNOWLES, John. A Separate Peace. London: Secker & Warburg, 1959. Small octavo, original green cloth, original dust jacket.
First edition, scarce presentation copy, of Knowles' first and most famous novel, warmly inscribed on the title page to Knowles' roommate at Yale and in New York: "To Brad—Whose rotobroiled lobster carried me through the first chapters, here it all is, from his Hell's Kitchen buddy, Jack."
A Separate Peace, Knowles' first published novel, tells the story of the competitive friendship of two students at a New England preparatory school during WWII, a school closely based on Phillips Exeter Academy, which Knowles attended. The novel "won the William Faulkner Foundation Award and the Rosenthal Award of the National Institute of Arts and Letters and soon came to be compared to classics like Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger and Lord of the Flies by William Golding" (New York Times). After the novel's success, Knowles resigned as editor at Holiday magazine to pursue writing full-time. Basis for the 1972 film from a screenplay co-authored by Knowles. While Knowles is an American, he traveled extensively in Europe during the 1950s, and this novel first appeared in England; the first American edition followed one year later. This copy inscribed to Bradford Dillman, who was Knowles' roommate at Yale and after, in Hell's Kitchen. The pair moved to Hell's Kitchen in the hope of starting creative careers in New York. While Knowles wrote A Separate Piece, Dillman struggled to find acting jobs in spite of his parent's disapproval. Dillman became a successful actor, both on Broadway and in Hollywood. Both men were heavily influenced by their New England prep school and Ivy League backgrounds. These experiences were at the core of both Knowles' writing career—especially A Separate Peace—and Dillman's acting career, in which he earned a reputation "as an actor of imposing stature as the bossy, over-ebullient, and immature mama's boy" (Weiler).
Book with shallow foxing to edge of text block just touching edge of inscription, spot of soiling to rear endpapers, and very faint staining to extremities of binding. Scarce dust jacket with light wear and toning to extremities and minor dampstaining to edge of front panel. An extremely good copy, with an outstanding association.