Native Son. Richard Wright.
Native Son
Native Son
Native Son
Native Son
Native Son

Native Son

New York, NY: Harper & Brothers, 1940. First Edition. Hardcover. "Superficially, Native Son is a crime story, adventurous, exciting, often terrible- with two murders, a chase and a gun fight over the roofs of Chicago, a trial, and what might have been, but was not, a rape. It is the old story of a man hunted down by society. But the reader will get through only a few chapters before he realizes that there is something different in this story. Bigger (Thomas)- and we all know Bigger- is no persecuted black saint. His family is a good tenement family, as tenement families go; but he is a bad actor from the first. He is mean; he is a coward; he is on occasion liar, thief, and bully. There is no sentimentalism in the writer who created Bigger, and made him chauffeur in the family of a wealthy philanthropist who spent some of the money wrung from negro tenements on benefits for the race. Bigger is headed for jail from the first chapter. When Mary Dalton, the flighty daughter of the philanthropist, asks Bigger to help along her intrigue...he has no compunctions. But he did not mean to kill her, he did not want to kill her, though he hated patronizing whites." (from review by Henry Seidel Canby, quoted on jacket flaps & back cover) The masterpiece of African-American literature by Richard Wright (1908-1960), the canonical author whose works have been enshrined in the Library of America series. As with millions of readers, this writer was greatly impacted as a teenager by this novel, with its brutally realistic depiction of Black lives & American society in pre-civil rights-era Chicago that still resonates even today, perhaps more than ever. Hardcover in dust jacket, first edition as stated on copyright page with "A-P" printed thereon. Our research indicates that the binding & jacket of this copy are most likely second state-issue, almost concurrent with the first state as a quarter-million copies of this novel were sold within just a few weeks of publication. Whatever issue, the jacket here, with its evocative front cover illustration, is more compelling than the first issue of which we have seen images. The flaps on this jacket are slightly clipped at each of their four corners. Although we have seen this done on some vintage volumes as issued, the price is not present here as it usually would be, & so we conclude that this is a price-clipped jacket. A supremely essential collectible classic, in its at-least-penultimately rarest original form. Book in fine condition with mild rubbing, faint scratching & occasional light spot-staining to front, back covers & spine; mild-to-moderate wear to edges & corners of same incl. very small areas of fraying with minimal loss of blue-grey cloth, a few tiny bumps & creases; slight rubbing & dulling of black & gilt lettering & graphics (appropriately of chains) on spine, but they are quite intact unlike most copies we have seen; very light browning & sparse spotting to side & lower edges of text block (the former untrimmed as issued); mild-to-moderate rubbing, scratching & fading of grey-dyed upper edge of same. Interior fine with light browning, occasional spotting to blank paste-downs & endpapers; very small crease-chip at left upper edge of front paste-down with just a bit of paper loss; a hint of browning mostly to blank margins of page leaves; tiny bumps at corners of a few of same; very small area of light spot-staining at blank upper right margin of pg. 249; very small area of smudging or ink-residue at blank upper right margin of pg. 347. Unrestored dust jacket in relatively quite good condition with mild rubbing, browning, fading, faint creasing & occasional light spot-staining to front, back covers, spine & flaps; moderate-to-significant wear, creasing, bumps & chips at edges & corners of same incl. moderate loss of paper esp. at/ near spine-edges & corners, with very slight effect on letters in "Native" on spine, "i" in "Native" on front cover. Fine / good. [Item #4581]

Price: $600.00