"THE MOST IMPORTANT NOVEL OF THE YEAR" (SINCLAIR LEWIS): FIRST EDITION OF MARITTA WOLFF'S 1941 AWARD-WINNING FIRST NOVEL, WHISTLE STOP, INSCRIBED BY HER IN THE YEAR OF PUBLICATION
WOLFF, Maritta M. Whistle Stop. New York: Random House, 1941. Octavo, original black cloth, original spine and front board labels, original dust jacket.
First edition of 22-year-old Wolff's debut novel—"brilliantly different… in its force, in its vividness," inscribed in the year of publication by her, "Maritta M. Wolff April 1941," basis for the 1946 film noir of the same name, especially scarce in the original dust jacket.
Wolff "burst onto the literary scene in 1941 with what Sinclair Lewis called 'the most important novel of the year.'" Awarded the Avery Hopwood Award for 1940, the novel won quick praise for its "rich, raw vitality" and was hailed as "brilliantly different… in its force, in its vividness, in its lack of sentimentality." To critics, Wolff was "as thoroughly informed about the seamy side of life in a Midwestern factory town as if she had spent 50 years in police courts." Her writing was viewed to be "as tough and unrelentingly realistic as James Farrell and a dozen times more entertaining" (New York Times). Whistle Stop was the basis for the 1946 film noir of the same name that starred George Raft and became a "turning point" for Ava Gardner, whose "luminous presence" led to her being cast in the same year's noir classic, The Killers (Dark Page, 282). Wolff's 1942 novel Night Shift was also made into a 1947 film noir. Titled The Man I Love, it starred Ida Lupino and was directed by Raoul Walsh. Yet after several more highly praised novels, Wolff suddenly stopped writing. At her death in 2002, she left behind an unpublished manuscript that had been in her refrigerator for decades. Titled Sudden Rain, it was finally published in 2010. First edition: with "First Printing" on copyright page.
Book fine; light edge-wear to spine ends, tiny bit of tape reinforcement to verso of price-clipped about-fine dust jacket.