The Bastard [Inscribed to Richard Johns]
New York: Heron Press Incorporated, 1929. First Edition. One of 900 numbered copies on Mellow Book, bound in Holliston Cloth (of a total edition of 1100). Inscribed on front free endpaper to American poet and editor Richard Johns. Octavo (25.5cm.); original purple gilt-lettered cloth; 199pp.; frontispiece and 5 plates; title page printed within purple decorative border. Unprinted acetate protector. Spine and covers heavily sunned, with faint dampstain to cloth at base of spine; text slightly aged with a few faint spots of foxing to prelims. A sound but unattractive copy, no better than Good, its flaws mostly hidden by a later custom board slipcase.
A significant association copy of Caldwell's first book. Johns (1904-1970) was at this time the editor of Pagany, a short-lived but influential experimental magazine in which Caldwell succeeded in placing a number of early stories. Caldwell's and Johns's correspondence, held at the University of Delaware, "highlights," in the words of one critic, how this literary friendship helped Caldwell "find his way into the contemporary American canon...and reveals some surprising tastes, including admiration for William Carlos Williams and John Dos Passos, as well as dozens of lesser known authors..." (Dan B. Miller, Review of Erskine Caldwell and the Fiction of Poverty by Sylvia Jenkins Cook. In The Southern Literary Journal, vol. 25, no 2 (Spring 1993).