"THIS STORY BELONGS TO OUR TIMES": FIRST EDITION OF SLOCOMBE'S ROMANCE OF A DICTATOR, 1932, AN EXCEPTIONAL COPY IN THE DRAMATIC ORIGINAL DUST JACKET, ALONG WITH THE PUBLISHER'S TRIAL DUST JACKET
(MUSSOLINI) SLOCOMBE, George. Romance of a Dictator. Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1932. Octavo, original green cloth, original red-, black- and silver-printed dust jacket, original trial dust jacket. $1200.
First edition of Slocombe's 1932 novel based on the rise and fascist rule of Mussolini, who the veteran journalist described, in separate reportage the same year, as "the dean of the world's dictators," this copy especially elusive with both the trial dust jacket and the publisher’s final original dust jacket with its bold design by Roland Cosimini.
British journalist Slocombe based the fictional hero of his Romance of a Dictator on Mussolini, who was interviewed by Slocombe in 1922. On publication, The New York Times praised Slocombe's work, saying: "this story belongs to our times." Slocombe's dictator is a "pure opportunist… of such egocentricity that he cannot serve." Time magazine also offered early praise for Slocombe's work, declaring that Romance of a Dictator's chilling view of a modern dictatorship "will intoxicate readers." In an October 1932 issue of Vanity Fair, published the same year as Romance, Slocombe called Mussolini "the dean of the world's dictators… [he] contemptuously banished the 'putrescent corpse' of liberty from the Italian Constitution. And this equally explains the emotional, the spiritual, the psychological success of Fascism. It gave Italy a new religion. It gave Italians a new attitude… He remolded them in his own dark image, men of bronze… Mussolini is capable of anything. He has himself publicly laid down the elastic frontiers of his maneuvering ground in the formula, 'Fascism is a perpetual Revolution.'" First edition, first printing: with publication date on title page, no statement of edition or printing on the copyright page. This distinctive copy contains both the publisher's official dust jacket, and the trial dust jacket titled Dictator. Clute & Nichols, 1117.
Mere trace of edge-toning to bright cloth; each dust jacket with light edge-wear, tiny closed tear to lower front panel, colorful price-clipped official dust jacket about-fine with bright and vivid design by Cosimini.