"WITH FRIENDSHIP AND WITH THANKS FOR A… BEAUTIFUL CHAIR AND WITH THE HOPE THAT THE BOOK I WRITE IN IT WILL HAVE ITS GOOD PROPORTIONS": EXCEEDINGLY SCARCE PRESENTATION FIRST EDITION OF TIME AND THE RIVER, INSCRIBED PRIOR TO PUBLICATION BY THOMAS WOLFE
WOLFE, Thomas. Of Time and the River: A Legend of Hunger in Man's Youth. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1935. Thick octavo, original black cloth, original dust jacket. Housed in a custom chemise and slipcase. $6000.
First edition of Wolfe’s brilliant sequel to Look Homeward, Angel, an exceptional presentation copy wonderfully inscribed prior to publication by Wolfe to noted concert pianist Stell Anderson and author Esther Morgan McCullough, "For Esther McCullough and Stell Anderson, With friendship and with thanks for a ['good and' crossed over] beautiful chair, and with the hope that the book I write in it will have its good proportions, Thomas Wolfe, Feb 28, 1935," in scarce dust jacket.
"On the night of the 14th of December , at about half-past eleven, Wolfe arrived customarily late for his appointment with [editor Max] Perkins… [and] unloaded a heavy bundle on his editor's desk. It was wrapped in brown paper, twice tied with string, and stood two feet high. Perkins opened it and found it packed with typescript—more than 3000 rough-draft pages, the first part of the novel. The sheets, all different kinds of paper, were not consecutively numbered, since the sections had not been consecutively written… 'You have often said that if I ever gave you something that you could get your hands on and weigh in its entirety from beginning to end, you could pitch in and help me to get out of the woods,' Wolfe wrote Perkins the following day. 'Well now here is your chance… I don't envy you the job before you" (Berg, Max Perkins, 235). Thus the editing of Wolfe's Of Time and the River began. Upon its highly-anticipated publication two years later, the New York Times called the novel "a magnificent epic of American life" and Malcolm Crowley named Thomas Wolfe "the only contemporary American writer who can be mentioned in the same breath with Dickens and Dostoevsky" (New Republic). Johnston A3.1.a. This scarce presentation first edition is inscribed and dated by Wolfe, "Feb 28, 1935," nearly a week before its publication on March 8. The recipients are renowned concert pianist Stell Anderson and author Esther Morgan McCullough. In 1937, two years after the date of Wolfe's inscription, Anderson "was the only American soloist invited to perform at the Paris Exposition. Immediately afterward she was invited to perform for the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. In 1938 Anderson… was invited to be the first artist to perform on the newly installed piano in the East Room of the White House" (Williams, Pioneering the Future). McCullough was the author of the novel, Five Devils of Kilmainham (1955), and edited the anthology As I Pass, O Manhattan (1956). With occasional lightly penciled marginalia.
Book fine; lightest edge-wear, faint rubbing to bright scarce dust jacket. A highly desirable about-fine presentation copy.