“I WILL SHOW YOU FEAR IN A HANDFUL OF DUST”: FIRST EDITION OF EVELYN WAUGH’S MASTERFUL FOURTH NOVEL, SCARCE ASSOCATION COPY FROM THE LIBRARY OF LOUIS AUCHINCLOSS
WAUGH, Evelyn. A Handful of Dust. London: Chapman and Hall, (1934). Octavo, original red and black "snakeskin" cloth, original dust jacket. $7000.
First edition of Waugh’s fourth novel, a highly memorable association copy from the library of famed author and lawyer Louis Auchincloss—pre-eminent “chronicler of Manhattan’s old-money elite” (New York Times)—with his gilt-stamped bookplate and embossed inkstamp, scarce in original unrestored dust jacket.
"It was during his two months in Morocco at the beginning of 1934 that Evelyn Waugh wrote the major part of A Handful of Dust. From the start he realised that this was different from anything he had attempted before." With its title taken from a line in Eliot's The Waste Land—"I will show you fear in a handful of dust"—Waugh's masterpiece marks a turning point in his work, representing "a level of achievement very much higher than any he had previously attained" (Hastings, 307-13). Critics praised the work as "the best written novel Waugh has yet produced" (New Statesman), with a story that is "both tragic and hilariously funny" (Saturday Review). First edition, with Waugh's original ending, revised and given a happier conclusion for American readers. First issue dust jacket with "7/6 net" on spine. With frontispiece illustration, three pages advertisements at rear. Without Book Society belly band, rarely found. This important association copy is from the library of prominent author and lawyer Louis Auchincloss, with his gilt-stamped bookplate and embossed owner stamp. A highly regarded "chronicler of Manhattan's old-money elite," Auchincloss has been favorably compared "to other novelists of society and manners like William Dean Howells, but his greatest influence was probably Edith Wharton… 'Of all our novelists, Auchincloss is the only one who tells us how our rulers behave in their banks and their boardrooms, their law offices and their clubs,' Gore Vidal once wrote. 'Not since Dreiser has an American writer had so much to tell us about the role of money in our lives" (New York Times).
Only lightest edge-wear to fine book; some chipping, slight toning to scarce very good dust jacket.