FIRST AMERICAN EDITION OF LAGERKVIST'S HEROD AND MARIAMNE, INSCRIBED BY THE NOBEL LAUREATE, WITH AN INSCRIBED OFFPRINT OF HIS NOBEL PRIZE ACCEPTANCE SPEECH
LAGERKVIST, Par. Herod and Mariamne. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1968. Slim octavo, original half black cloth, original dust jacket. WITH: Le Banquet Nobel 1951 Discours Prononce par Par Lagerkvist. Stockholm: Kungl. Boktryckeriet P.A. Norstedt & Soner, 1952. Octavo, original printed paper wrappers, staple-bound as issued; pp. 12 (paginated -). $1900.
First American edition, inscribed by the author, "To Debra P. Patunik, with best wishes from P. Lagerkvist." Accompanied by the first separate edition of Lagerkvist's Nobel acceptance speech in 1952, inscribed by the author to the same recipient across the front wrapper.
"Lagerkvist now clearly belongs to that mainstream of authors whose works contribute to the canon of the European literary tradition" (Pribic, 223). In this brief novel, first published in Sweden the preceding year, Lagerkvist—one of Sweden's most important modern authors and winner of the 1951 Nobel in Literature—again draws on biblical characters (as he did in his celebrated 1950 novel, Barabbas) to explore the theme that occupies so much of his work: the conflict between good and evil in the human heart. In his Nobel acceptance speech—an inscribed copy of the first separate edition accompanies the book—the author reads from one of his previously unpublished manuscripts "about the enigma of our life which makes human destiny at once so great and so hard" (Nobel Foundation translation). Text of offprint in original Swedish and French translation. With a sepia photographic portrait.