"THE CLASSIC SAGA OF TWO SMART DAMES": FIRST EDITION OF ANITA LOOS' GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES
LOOS, Anita. "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes." The Illuminating Diary of a Professional Lady. New York: Boni & Liveright, 1925. Octavo, original red cloth. $750.
First edition, first issue, of Loos' witty breakthrough novel, basis for the classic Howard Hawks film starring Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell, with numerous in-text illustrations by Ralph Barton.
Originally conceived as "the classic saga of two smart dames" (New York Times), Gentlemen Prefer Blondes "elevated Loos to international fame… At least one source reports that Winston Churchill kept a copy of the book on his bedside table, and James Joyce is said to have read it when he was losing his eyesight. Aldous Huxley said he would like to keep Loos 'as a pet' and Mencken claimed she was 'the first American writer ever to poke fun at sex.' Loos rewrote the book as a play that had tremendous popularity on stage with Carol Channing as Lorelei," and in 1953 it was released as the popular movie musical starring Jane Russell and Marilyn Monroe, who executed a pink-satin-clad performance of "Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend" that became Monroe's trademark song (ANB). First edition, first issue with uncorrected "divine" instead of "devine" on contents page; "1925" on both title page and copyright page. Featuring in-text and full-page illustrations by Ralph Barton, who also worked for publications such as Cosmopolitan, Vanity Fair and Life. Without scarce dust jacket.
Interior fresh with occasional marginal soiling, lightest edge-wear to bright gilt-stamped cloth. A lovely about-fine copy.