Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice

    Description

    Rudolph Fisher. The Conjure-Man Dies. A Mystery Tale of Dark Harlem. New York: Covici-Friede, 1932. First edition. Octavo (7.5 x 5.125 inches; 190 x 129 mm.). [4], 316 pages. Publisher's light brown cloth, spine lettered in black, front board with a single vertical black rule; top edge stained red, others rough-trimmed; in the original dust jacket. A bit of soiling, discoloration to binding; boards slightly pushed at bottom corners, resulting in bowing effect. Text block edges slightly dust-soiled; normal age toning to unstained edges and interior. Fairly mild toning to dust jacket; a small amount of chipping at spine and flap fold ends; some insect damage principally to front flap fold, with some scattered at margins of front and rear panel; small crease at rear flap; some splitting at each spine and flap fold end, though still sound. A bit of discoloration to verso. Still, very good. Uncommon, the only record in Rare Book Hub being from when Heritage sold a copy in 2017. Writer, physician, and Harlem Renaissance figure Rudolph Fisher's last novel, and the first in its genre with an African-American detective, and the first set in a predominately African-American neighborhood. Fisher died two years after its publication. From the Otto Penzler Collection of Mystery Fiction.

    More Information: "Other African-American works that relied upon pulp genres were also overlooked due to either their popular form or deviance from the ethos of the Harlem Renaissance; for example, Rudolph Fisher's The Conjure Man Dies, which has been neglected except as one of the first black detective stories (it undoubtedly offers the first black urban detective). As a result, it has been written off by critics as only a detective story and beneath the considerable talents of Fisher, whom Langston Hughes called the 'whitiest of the New Negroes.' But...Fisher's aim is more apparent: to write a popular and sensation genre novel that humanizes African-Americans, hence he uses the pulp form propagandistically. The Conjure Man Dies is therefore a more sophisticated work than Harlem Renaissance critics have allowed. Maria Balshaw recently wrote that The Conjure Man Dies, despite playing 'fast and loose with tradition, urbanity, high and low culture, rationalism and primitivism,' has been long overlooked 'perhaps because there seems so little context for understanding an African American detective novel in this period; perhaps more because its 'inherent variety' of form makes it a difficult text to classify or respond to.'" (David M. Earle. Re-Covering Modernism. Pulps, Paperbacks, and the Prejudice of Form. Farnham: Ashgate Publishing, 2009, p. 124).

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    March, 2019
    6th Wednesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 10
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 345

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    25% on the first $300,000 (minimum $49), plus 20% of any amount between $300,000 and $3,000,000, plus 12.5% of any amount over $3,000,000 per lot.

    Sold for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    VIEW BENEFITS
    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
      winnings 
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Consign to the 2019 September 22 2019 Fall Luxury Accessories Signature Auction - Beverly Hills Luxury Accessories - Beverly Hills.

    Learn about consigning with us

    The resulting auction of my property overwhelmed me. I want to thank Tom Slater and the Heritage team for a very satisfactory experience and profitable result with my historical consignment.
    Henry L.,
    Lexington, KY
    View More Testimonials

    HA.com receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source: Similarweb.com)

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search

    Recent auctions

    2019 May 14 Historical Manuscripts Grand Format Auction - Dallas
    2019 May 14 Historical Manuscripts Grand Format Auction - Dallas
    REALIZED SO FAR $735,674