Loot of the week 22 March 2016

This week's loot comprised a signed copy of Jonathan Franzen's early work, a rare National Book Award winner and three limited signed Pulitzer winners. Also, there's a copy of Robert Frost's pictorial chronicle complimentary from a bookseller, which is a very nice gesture.

"Strong Motion", published in 1992 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, is Jonathan Franzen's second, and perhaps most overlooked, novel. This is a signed copy that completes my collection of Franzen's oeuvre, all flat signed. This title and "The Twenty-Seventh City", Franzen's first novel, are rarer than Franzen's later work, but can still be gotten at a bargain today.

The National Book Award winner is Tim O'Brien's "Going After Cacciato", published in 1978 by Delacorte Press, which makes it the true first edition, and is relatively scarce. The market is flooded with the UK edition published by Jonathan Cape. I've been looking out for a fine true first at a reasonable price for over a year, and was lucky to seize this one on eBay.

Of the three Pulitzer winners, Alison Lurie's "Foreign Affairs" was published in 1984 by Franklin Press and Random House. This is the true first edition published by the Franklin Press as part of its "Signed First Edition" series while Random House separately published the first trade edition. "Foreign Affairs" won the Pulitzer in 1985 after the advisory board voted in its favor over the other two jury recommendations: Diana O'Hehir's "I Wish This War Were Over" and Douglas Unger's "Leaving the Land". Next, we have Kantor MacKinlay's civil war novel, "Andersonville", published in 1955 by The World Publishing Company in two variants: a limited signed first edition and a trade first edition. This is the former that was issued with a slipcase in place of a dust jacket. The 1956 Pulitzer fiction jury was unanimous in recommending "Andersonville" for the prize, commenting that the runner-ups, John O'Hara's "Ten North Frederick" and Robert Penn Warren's "Band of Angels", were far behind in the field, and the advisory board concurred. Finally, Robert Frost's "A Witness Tree" was published in 1942 by Henry Holt, also in limited signed first edition and first trade edition. This is the signed first edition limited to 735 copies. The title would go on to win Frost his fourth and final Pulitzer poetry prize. 


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