Loot of the Month Feb 2021
This month, we have 6 interesting first editions, mostly Pulitzer related.
The catch is Saul Bellow's first edition of "The Victim". This was his second novel in 1947, after his debut, "Dangling Man" in 1944, and the last one Bellow published under Vanguard Press before moving on to Viking Press where his enjoyed literary success with "The Adventures of Augie March", "Herzog", and "Humboldt's Gift", amongst others. Bellow called "The Victim" and "Dangling Man" his PhD and MA respectively later in life, written to Flaubertian standards in his early literary apprenticeship. It is now difficult to secure these two titles' first edition in good dust jackets as most are plagued with severe chips and very sunned spine. I'm still searching for a great copy of "Dangling Man" at reasonable price to complete my Bellow collection.
Below Bellow is E. Annie Proulx's "The Shipping News". I've already got a first edition copy but that one has a minor flaw on its front endpaper, so I'd been on a lookout for a replacement copy. "The Shipping News" was critically acclaimed, winning the Pulitzer in 1994 and the NBA in 1993, and established Proulx as a leading American female writer. Incidentally, I'm as, or more, charmed by Proulx's short stories.
Then there are two Paul Horgans. Horgan was twice Pulitzer winners in History, and made a single appearance for the Fiction prize as unofficial finalist in 1978 with "The Thin Mountain Air". The winner that year was James Alan MacPherson's "Elbow Room". "Memories of the Future" was an earlier Horgan first edition that was sold in a bundle, and it has a very nice dust jacket design.
We also have Ursula Le Guin's short stories collection, "Unlocking the Air" - described by the Jury as "a series of carefully crafted meditations" - that was a 1997 Pulitzer finalist alongside Joanna Scott's "The Manikin", and the winner, Martin Millhauser's "Martin Dressler".
And finally, we have John O'Hara, a three times unofficial Pulitzer finalist who never won it, some say because of his overbearing personality. O'Hara finalist debut was "Ten North Frederick" but he lost out to Mackinlay Kantor's "Andersonville" for the 1956 prize. He was closest in 1959 with "From the Terrace", which was recommended as the strong first choice by the Jury, but the prize went to Robert Lewis Taylor's "The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters", the Jury's second choice and the Board's pick. O'Hara's final appearance was in 1969 with "And Other Stories", but only as the Jury's third choice, and the prize went to N. Scott Momaday's "House Made of Dawn".