Lives of Girls and Women (First US Edition)

BY Alice Munro
Book Information1Thus/2/0/US/MGH/1972/?  •  218x148x30  •  474  •  Nobel'13

"Lives of Girls and Women" is Alice Munro's second book and first and only (composite) novel. According to Thacker*, this US edition was published in September 1972 by McGraw-Hill New York. Apparently the book sold well in US and went into the third printing by March 1973. The true first edition of this title is the Canadian version.

Munro started working on this novel, originally titled "Real Life", in January of 1970, and completed the manuscript by December. However, she was unsatisfied with the epilogue and continued to work on it until just before publication. Dedicating the book to her then husband, Jim, Munro acknowledged that she worked on this book with the acknowledgement that her marriage was coming to an end (they divorced in 1972). This perhaps explains why there is a disclaimer on the copyright page stating that the story is autobiographical in form but not in fact. The finished book is a Bildungsroman, a sort of "girl-growing-up thing" as she described it to her editor in a letter. The book's title was finally settled as "Lives of Girls and Women" upon released news that Deborah Pease, a novelist and poet who went on to become the editor of The Paris Review, was to published a novel named "Real Life" as well.  

This is the first US edition second printing with first state dust jacket that is unclipped, reflecting the correct price of $6.95. The book is bound in brown clothed board with gilt lettering, and has dull red topstain. The first printing's copyright page should have a complete number line, and this book, being second printing, has a number line starting with "2" instead. Despite the "Copyright, McGraw-Hill Ryerson Limited,1971" statement on the copyright, this second printing was published in late 1972 after September. This is verified by the year line on the copyright page, "798765432", indicating that the publication year was 72, and corroborated by the Library of Congress serial number 72-1124, with the first two digits representing publication year. Very interestingly, I haven't seen a copy of the first printing for the first printing in the past two years.

This book is very rare and a VG copy with unclipped dust jacket is now quite hard to find. The listing price on Abebooks - only two available copies in Aug 2015 - is $100 onwards. This is a VG copy with a VG dust jacket due to a patch of dampstain at the bottom left corner, and a VG+ book that would be NF if not for the topstain damage.

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


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