"MCKAY'S FINEST NOVEL": FIRST EDITION OF BANANA BOTTOM, 1933, CLAUDE MCKAY'S FINAL NOVEL
MCKAY, Claude. Banana Bottom. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1933. Octavo, original orange and white floral cloth, original red spine label, floral endpapers. $3400.
First edition of the final novel by Claude McKay—"one of the most prominent and militant voices for racial equality in the early years of the Harlem Renaissance"—a splendid copy in original cloth.
A pivotal figure of the Harlem Renaissance, McKay was "an important pioneer in African American and African Caribbean intellectual, cultural and literary history" (Oxford Companion to African American Literature). "One of the most prominent and militant voices for racial equality in the early years of the Harlem Renaissance… his fierce artistic and political independence earned him the respect of young writers" (Bader, African-American Writers, 274-5). Banana Bottom, published the decade before his death, is "often identified as McKay's finest novel. It tells the story of Bita Plant, who returns to Jamaica after being educated in England and struggles to form an identity that reconciles the aesthetic values imposed upon her with her appreciation for her native roots" (ANB). With this defining work, set in the nation of his birth, McKay offers a complex and "careful analysis of the modern global economy and Jamaica's place within it" (Nicholls, Folk as Alternative Modernity). In both his life and writings McKay was, as well, "an instrumental role model for the founders of the Negritude movement and a resonant historical reference for the Black Nationalism during the civil rights era" (Oxford Companion). First edition, first printing: copyright page with "First Edition"; code "B-H" indicating publication in February 1933. Without very rare dust jacket; with laid-in printed sections from original front flap and rear panel of dust jacket. Not in Blockson. A fine copy.
A fine copy.