“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 light yellow cloth, original dust jacket.
First edition, in first-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 light buff cloth in which this copy was bound were exhausted, the job was finished in bright canary yellow cloth. Jacket design by Arthur Hawkins. Goldstone & Payne A22b. Salinas Public Library, 38. Valentine 174. Bruccoli & Clark I:355. Small owner signature.
Interior fine, tiny faint red mark to lower edge of rear board; light edge-wear to colorful dust jacket. A lovely near-fine copy.