"ALTHOUGH NO WRITER—INCLUDING ME—HAS YET CAPTURED 'THE' HEFNER STORY, THIS BOOK PROVIDED ME WITH A WONDERFUL OPPORTUNITY TO MEET YOU AND BECOME YOUR FRIEND…": FIRST EDITION, PRESENTATION/ASSOCIATION COPY, OF GAY TALESE'S THY NEIGHBOR'S WIFE, WARMLY INSCRIBED TO ONE OF THE BOOK'S MAIN SUBJECTS, HUGH HEFNER
TALESE, Gay. Thy Neighbor's Wife. Garden City, New York: Doubleday, 1980. Octavo, original black cloth, original dust jacket.
First edition, presentation/association copy, of this popular analysis of sex in 20th-century America, warmly inscribed to Hugh Hefner, a prominent figure throughout the narrative: "Dear Hef—Although no writer—including me—has yet captured 'the' Hefner story, this book provided me with a wonderful opportunity to meet you and become your friend…—always Gay Talese April, 1980." From Hefner's personal library with his bookplate on the dust jacket and an explanatory letter about the book's provenance from Hefner's sole trustee.
"The smut-hound, dipping into Thy Neighbor's Wife in bookshop or library, won't find much to induce tumescence. Though the book purports to be a saga of sex liberation, of society's journey upward toward the light, Talese is not interested in sensuality, the erotic, or the perverse. In fact the book is terribly sedate. He has a concept of sex as 'recreation,' rather like the other great postwar bourgeois obsession, tennis. Singles, or doubles, a good fast serve, netplay, game, set and M-A-A-A-T-C-H. Then back to the nuclear nest and more deeply felt, improved netplay with the Missus" (New York Review of Books). This focus on the white post-war middle-class placed Thy Neighbor's Wife squarely in Hugh Hefner's territory. Playboy had been marketed to exactly the same people. Talese discusses Hefner at length, explaining the genesis and eventual success of Playboy while also focusing on the unique qualities (charm, persuasiveness, business aptitude, a genius IQ) that made Hefner well-suited to bring pornography into the mainstream. This copy is warmly inscribed by Talese to Hefner. Indeed, "Gay Talese's Thy Neighbor's Wife hailed Hefner as an avatar of the sexual revolution." In the 1980s, Talese spent a great deal of time with Hefner, interviewing him as well as with his family, coworkers, and colleagues. This book was a lengthy follow-up to a series of articles published in Esquire titled "The Erotic History of Hugh Hefner," also based on Talese's work. Occasional red underlining to sections mentioning Hefner, possibly by Hefner. With Hefner's bookplate on the rear panel of the dust jacket and a laid-in typed signed letter from Hefner's trustee, Michael Whalen, confirming the provenance of the book and providing details about Hefner's library.
Book fine, dust jacket extremely good with long split to rear joint and moderate wear to extremities. A desirable inscribed copy with a fascinating association.