"A POEM, A STINK, A GRATING NOISE, A QUALITY OF LIGHT, A TONE, A HABIT, A NOSTALGIA, A DREAM": FIRST EDITION OF STEINBECK'S CANNERY ROW
STEINBECK, John. Cannery Row. New York: Viking, 1945. Small octavo, original yellow cloth, original dust jacket. Housed in a custom clamshell box. $1700.
First edition, in second-state cloth binding, of Steinbeck's "fine small art, a miniature gem, a verbal minuet" (A.C. Spectorsky, contemporary review), in scarce original dust jacket.
Steinbeck's picaresque novel, set against the backdrop of the sardine canneries, vacant lots, flophouses and honky-tonks of Monterey, California, "was as complex as [Steinbeck] was. In a way it was a summation of all his conflicts and contradictions, and all that he had learned. It was Steinbeck-funny and deadly serious all at the same time, sentimental and coldly deterministic, loving and satirical, lyrical and yet very precise… Nowhere else in his work is his poetry so well controlled, and nowhere else does he cut quite so deep" (Benson, 554-5). The first edition was printed using materials in conformity with wartime conservation measures and was issued both in paper wrappers and in cloth with dust jacket; when supplies of the very scarce light buff cloth binding were exhausted, the job was completed in this copy's bright canary yellow cloth. Jacket design by Arthur Hawkins. Goldstone & Payne A22b. Salinas Public Library, 38. Valentine 174. Bruccoli & Clark I:355. Small 1967 newspaper clipping regarding a fire in Monterey's actual Cannery Row tipped to front pastedown.
Just a touch of soiling to canary yellow cloth; dust jacket with light rubbing to ends of spine, less toned than often seen, and with a few small nicks along folds, near-fine.