SIGNED BY WRIGHT MORRIS
MORRIS, Wright. The Inhabitants. New York and London: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1946. Slim quarto, original pale green debossed cloth, original dust jacket. $2500.
First edition of this “first work in photofiction” (Roth), signed by Morris on the title page, with 52 black-and-white photogravure plates of rural America at mid-century.
"One of the nation's most unrecognized writers," Wright Morris is often likened to Faulkner and Cather for his brilliant "evocation of an idiosyncratic America" (New York Times). In addition to a legacy of 19 novels, Morris produced five books of photography, a passion first inspired by a 1938 cross-country trip where, in his words, he "saw the American landscape crowded with ruins I wanted to salvage." In 1942, having won the "second Guggenheim Fellowship ever awarded in photography (the first had gone to Edward Weston in 1937)," Morris ultimately produced this groundbreaking "first work in photofiction," which expertly wedded his prose to a photographic focus that captured not only a generation of Americans, but also "their artifacts-objects (mostly of wood) bearing their imprint." Thomas Mann praised Morris for a vision that so vividly captured "the harsh beauty of ugliness, the romanticism of the commonplace, the poetry of the unpoetical" (Roth, 122). The Inhabitants became the first of a trilogy by Morris, followed by The Home Place (1948) and God's Country and My People (1968). Owner inscription on title page. Biography of Morris (from another dust jacket flap) affixed to front free endpaper.
Images clean and fresh, faint trace of label removal to rear pastedown, light soiling to original cloth; some chipping with loss to spine ends, corners of bright, unrestored dust jacket. A very good copy, scarce signed.