31 July, 2015

Dance of the Happy Shades (First Canadian Edition)

BY Alice Munro
Book Information1/1/0/CA/RY/1968/o.2,675  •  218x152x56  •  483  •  Nobel'13  •  GGA'68

Lamentably, there is no online resource for identifying the first editions of Alice Munro - our modern Chekhov. My plan is to fill this gap by providing a first edition list of Munro's work, starting with her earliest work and working down the list of 14 original short story published from 1968 to 2012. Since Munro is a Canadian and she worked directly with Canadian publishers, the true first editions will be the Canadian editions though for specific titles I will also include the American first editions.

Munro is the first Canadian to have won the Nobel Prize in Literature (Saul Bellow was born in Canada but was a naturalized American when he won the same prize). She published "Dance of Happy Shades", her first short story collection, at 36 while raising three children and running a bookstore, Munro's Books, with her then husband in Victoria, Canada. According to Thacker*, Ryerson Press published 2,675 first printing copies of this title in September 1968. Before that, Munro was an underground writer whose work was read only by a handful within the literary circle. This collection of 15 stories - 12 of which were previously printed elsewhere -  was very well received by the critics and it won the 1968 Governor General's Award (GGA), the most prestigious Canadian literary prize, akin to the American Pulitzer. However, the book did not sell well and stocks from the first printing remained unsold well into the 1970s. 

This is the first Canadian edition first printing with first state dust jacket that is unclipped and without price, as issued. There is a second state dust jacket with the GGA stocker affixed. The dust jacket is printed on thick green cardboard-like paper that feels sturdy, unlike some very fragile jackets produced at that time. The book is bound in green clothed board with gilt lettering, and has no topstain. The copyright page should state "(c) Alice Munro 1968". For the American market, there is a separate American first edition of this title with a different dust jacket published in the fall of 1973.

This book is increasing rare and a VG copy with first state dust jacket can be purchased at Abebooks for $700 onwards. This is a NF copy with a NF dust jacket with some shelf wear at spine extremities, and a NF book has a small sticker stain on the verso of the ffep but is otherwise tight and clean. 
There are no official signed first editions but you can find signed copies of this edition. Munro's signature is rather simple, so caveat emptor.

* Thacker, Robert. (2011). Alice Munro: Writing Her Lives, A Biography. Random House.




















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