New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1950. Original Sewn Wrappers. Very Good binding. Item #6172
Octavo. , 499, , [4 (blank)] pp. First edition; advance review copy. As issued, in publisher's wrappers with title printed on the front wrapper. A fairly nice copy, all in all. The front wrapper has a bit of what appears to be tape residue towards the bottom corner with some accompanying scuffing; a small stain on the rear wrapper; top corner of the textblock has been gently bumped.
An uncommon review copy of Jack Kerouac's first novel. It is largely if not strictly autobiographical, set in Galloway, MA, a fictionalized version of Lowell, MA, his hometown. The novel is unique in that it is Kerouac's first novel and one written before he solidified his distinctive, spontaneous voice for which he became known. While it may lack the energy and drive of Kerouac's later works it does not fall short in lyricism and passion. In her bibliography Anne Charters transcribes a few lines of a conversation with Kerouac, "'The Town and the City' was written according to what they told me at Columbia University. Fiction. But I told you, the novel's dead. Then I broke loose from all that and wrote picaresque narratives. That's what my books are" (Charters p. 4). Additionally, Charters excerpts a letter Kerouac wrote to a friend about this novel, which captures something about Kerouac's relationship to his hometown and his growing up. Kerouac writes, "...Lowell, like Winesburg, Ohio and Ashville, North Carolina or Fresno, California or Hawthorne's Salem, is always the place where the darkness of the trees by the river, on a starry night, gives hint of that inscrutable future Americans are always longing and longing for. And when they find that future, not till then, they begin looking back with sorrows, and an understanding of how man haunts the earth, pacing, prowling, circling in the shades, and the intelligence of the compass, pointing to nothing in sight save starry passion" (qtd. in Charters p. 3-4). A solid copy securely housed and beautifully presented in a custom clamshell box with leather title label on the spine. Charters A1a (for the first edition); APG 001a.