THE GREAT AMERICAN NOVEL
Paris: Three Mountains Press, 1923. Hard Cover. Good+ binding. Item #6349
Octavo.79,  pp. First edition; numbered 275 of 300 copies; signed by Williams on the front free endpaper. Bound as issued in publisher's cloth-backed boards; lacking title label. Binding is bumped at the board edges; spine ends softened with some fraying; boards toned; offsetting to the endpapers; a closed tear to the fore-edge of the front free endpaper has been discreetly mended; an additional short closed tear to the fore-edge margin of a leaf had an early tape repair that was removed and mended more sensitively. All in all, a reasonable copy of an uncommon book.
A notable early work from one of the great American writers and issued like so many important literary works of that time from a small but significant American press in Paris. William Bird founded the Three Mountains Press in the 1920’s and worked closely with Robert McAlmon's Contact Editions not long after opening. Bird was responsible for publishing and/or printing numerous major literary works of the era including several works by Ezra Pound, Ford Madox Ford's Women and Men, Robert McAlmon's Distinguished Air, William's The Great American Novel, and perhaps most notably, Hemingway's second and defining work, In Our Time. In fact, Pound edited the series of six short prose works that included this present novel and Hemingway's, In Our Time. Pound solicited Williams's work for this series about which he wrote in a letter to Williams that the "point of the thing [would] lie in its being really interesting." Williams's novel was that. While he later referred to it as a "satire on the novel form," his bibliographer contended that "it could be described as an attempt to explore," using Williams's own word, "the background of American life" (Wallace 16). An important work in its own right, The Great American Novel is also rooted in the culture of expatriate artists that Gertrude Stein named the Lost Generation. Bird's Press was integrally connected to the burgeoning Modernist movement in Paris which would define a generation of writers and influence generations that followed. An important work signed by one of the great writers of the 20th century. Wallace A6.