"THEY DO THESE THINGS BETTER IN FRANCE": FIRST EDITION OF STEINBECK'S SHORT REIGN OF PIPPIN IV, WARMLY INSCRIBED TO BROADWAY CASTING DIRECTOR AND PRODUCER BARBARA WOLFERMAN
STEINBECK, John. The Short Reign of Pippin IV. New York: Viking, 1957. Octavo, original half beige cloth, original dust jacket. $5800.
First edition of Steinbeck's whimsical satire, warmly inscribed to Barbara Wolferman, the assistance casting director on the 1955 musical adaptation of Sweet Thursday ("Pipe Dream)": "For Barbara—'They do these things better in France' said Uncle Toby. And they do these things better in me—With love John Steinbeck."
John Steinbeck's Short Reign of Pippin IV "is one of the purest expressions of true, simple, American affection for the French that has ever been written" (New York Times Book Review). Inspired by his stay in Paris in 1954, here Steinbeck lightly "satirizes French politics and the Americanization of modern French culture… Pippin is a book with heart" (Railsback & Meyer, 341-2). Goldstone & Payne A36a. Salinas Public Library, 46-7. This copy is inscribed to Barbara Wolferman, the assistant casting director on the 1955 musical "Pipe Dream," adapted from Steinbeck's Sweet Thursday. Wolferman continued her career in theater through the 1950s, going on to co-produce the Broadway show Blue Denim with James Hammerstein. Wolferman was also heir to the Wolferman's Baked Goods fortune. The phrase "They do these things better in France"—aside from being a common aphorism—is a paraphrase of the first line of the Prologue in Laurence Stern's A Sentimental Journey Through France and Italy ("They order, said I, this matter better in France."). Uncle Toby was a major character from Tristram Shandy, also by Stern. Presumably, Steinbeck has confused the two.
Book with light foxing to preliminary and concluding pages and very faint soiling to binding. Fragile dust jacket with slighest soiling and only light wear and toning to extremities. An extremely good inscribed copy.