"REALLY THE BEGINNING OF MODERN WRITING": CRITIC WILLIAM TROY'S COPY OF GERTRUDE STEIN'S THE MAKING OF AMERICANS, 1925 FIRST EDITION, ONE OF ONLY 500 COPIES
STEIN, Gertrude. The Making of Americans. Being a History of a Family's Progress, Written… 1906-1908. (Paris: Contact Editions, Three Mountains Press, 1925). Quarto, contemporary three-quarter black morocco, raised bands, uncut and largely (after page 60) unopened; original printed paper wrappers bound in. $3000.
Scarce first edition of Stein's modernist tour de force, one of only 500 copies printed by Maurice Darantière for Robert McAlmon's Three Mountains Press in Paris, a handsomely bound copy with the original paper wrappers bound in. The copy of critic William Troy, staunch defender of Stein's experimental prose, with his penciled ownership signature dated "N.H. 1926."
This novel was identified by Stein as both a "monumental work" and, more subjectively, as "the beginning, really the beginning of modern writing"—a claim she clearly supports by including the years of the novel's composition on the title page, 1906-1908. This interesting copy bears the penciled ownership inscription of William Troy, dated "N.H. 1926." Troy was an academic and critic, who was teaching for a year in New Hampshire following his graduation from Yale in 1925. He later married poet Léonie Adams, who had known Stein in Paris. Troy is notable for having defended enthusiastically Stein's later Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas against the sort of ridicule that her obstinately irregular prose tended to attract, writing of that work: "among books of literary reminiscences Miss Stein's is one of the richest, wittiest, and most irreverent ever written." It would appear, however, that he did not finish the present work, as the pages remain unopened after page 60. One of only 500 copies published, 100 of which were used to make the 1926 first American edition. Wilson A6.
A bit of rubbing to corners and toning to morocco. Still a fine copy, handsomely bound while retaining the original wrappers, and with an interesting provenance.