"LIKE CONRAD, HE ADOPTED ANOTHER LANGUAGE": FIRST EDITION OF LARSSON'S CRITICALLY PRAISED FIRST NOVEL, OUR DAILY BREAD, 1934
Our Daily Bread. New York: Vanguard, 1934. Octavo, original tan cloth, original dust jacket. $750.
First edition of the Swedish-born novelist's first book, written in English rather than his native Swedish, praised on publication for its "humanity… its sympathy for the underdog" (New York Times), a handsome copy in the original dust jacket.
Known as the Swedish Conrad, Larsson was born in Sweden in 1898 and emigrated to America in 1922 where "like Conrad, he adopted another language" to write in English (Scribner's Magazine). Trained as an engineer, he lived in New York where he often worked as a stevedore, and in 1934 "he made his debut with Our Daily Bread, a novel about the life of a workman's family during the 1909 general strike in Sweden" (Kastrup, Swedish Heritage in America, 647). Increasingly seen as a major proletariat work, the novel won praise on publication for its honesty and "humanity… its feeling for people, its sympathy for the underdog" (New York Times). While Larsson is virtually unknown today, Our Daily Bread, along with his autobiographical novels such as Fatherland, Farewell (1938) and Ordeal of the Falcon (1941), all written in English, further link him to Conrad, and his 1946 novel, Ships in the River, reportedly influenced Elia Kazan's classic film, On the Waterfront. A dedicated Socialist in his life and work, Larsson died penniless, a victim of McCarthyism. First edition with "Copyright, 1934" on copyright page: no statement of editions or printings.
Book fine; light edge-wear, mild toning to spine, small bit of tape reinforcement to verso of extremely good, unrestored dust jacket.