Against the American Grain


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Item#: 100539 price:$300.00

Against the American Grain


MACDONALD, Dwight. Against the American Grain. New York: Random House, 1962. Octavo, original red cloth, original dust jacket. $300.

First edition of Macdonald's important collection of essays, including his controversial "Masscult & Midcult," inscribed by him on the title page, "For L— & S— W. love from [circled author name] me. Dwight June 1968."

Against the American Grain brings together major essays by critic Dwight Macdonald: "an uncompromising contrarian, a passionate polemicist, a man of quick wit and wide learning, an anarchist, a pacifist, and a virtuoso of the slashing phrase… an indomitable critic of America's susceptibility to well-meaning cultural fakery: all those estimable, eminent, prizewinning works of art that are said to be good and good for you and are not. He dubbed this phenomenon 'Midcult' and he attacked it not only on aesthetic but on political grounds… In the era of smart, sexy, and everything indie, Macdonald remains as pertinent and challenging as ever" (New York Review of Books). Here Macdonald attacks writers from Hemingway to Robert Frost, pays tribute to his friend, writer James Agee, and mourns the "pompous… religion of culture" epitomized by the Encyclopedia Britannica's 54-volume Great Books. To Norman Mailer, Macdonald possessed "exquisite taste in many a literary matter. But his transcendental virtue, that unique quality which sets him far apart… was that he had the rare gift of always speaking out of his own voice." "First printing" stated on copyright page. Containing his oft-cited essay, "Masscult & Midcult," and other pieces initially appearing in the 1950s and early 1960s in magazines and journals such as The New Yorker, Partisan Review and Commentary. Faint occasional marginalia.

Light edge-wear, small chip to spine end of scarce dust jacket. A scarce near-fine inscribed copy.

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