Description

    Inscribed by Nathanel West
    Known to His Friend's as "Pep"

    Nathanael West. INSCRIBED. Miss Lonelyhearts. New York: Liveright, [1933]. First edition, first issue. Inscribed by West on front free endpaper: "For Bob Brown/ affectionately/ Pep West." The Bob Brown of the inscription seems likely to be West's friend, the avant-garde poet Robert Carlton Brown, who wrote one of the reviews of Miss Lonelyhearts in the July 1933 issue of Contempo.
    Octavo. 213 pages. Publisher's tan cloth over boards. Title stamped on spine in silver on black. Some staining and wear to boards. Binding slightly cocked. Endpapers soiled. Few spots of browning. Light and scattered foxing. A generally very good copy in facsimile dust jacket.
    Please visit HA.com/6148 for an extended description of this lot.


    More Information:

    The scarcity of the true first issue of Miss Lonelyhearts resulted from the 1933 bankruptcy of Liveright. Only 800 of the roughly 2,200 copies of the first edition were shipped from the printer. Harcourt, Brace and Company eventually took over the edition, with their imprint constituting the second issue. Cyril Connolly, in The Modern Movement, describes Miss Lonelyhearts as "one of the masterpieces of modern literature." White 3.

    Nathanael West was ironically nicknamed "Pep" by his friends, due to his lack of physical strength and coordination.

    During the Great Depression, West made a living as a hotel manager, where he met Lilian Hellman and Dashiell Hammett. Hellman remembers him:

    "He managed a hotel, the Sutton Hotel. We all lived there half-free, sometimes all free. Dash wrote The Thin Man at the Sutton Hotel. Pep West's uncle or cousin owned it, I think. He gave Pep a job out of kindness. There couldn't have been any other reason. Pep liked opening letters addressed to the guests. He was writing, you know, and he was curious about everything and everybody. He would steam open envelopes, and I would help him. He wanted to know about everybody.

    "Dash had the Royal Suite - three very small rooms. And we had to eat there most of the time because we didn't have enough money to eat any place else. It was awful food, almost spoiled. I think Pep bought it extra cheap. But it was the depression and I couldn't get a job. I remember reading the manuscript of Balso Snell in the hotel. And I think he was also writing Lonelyhearts at that time. " - Conversations with Lillian Hellman (Edited by Jackson R. Bryer, page 63.)



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    Auction Dates
    November, 2015
    4th-5th Wednesday-Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 4
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