New York: Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1940. Reprint, issued by the Book-of-the-Month Club, with "First Edition" and "A-P" code on copyright page (see Ahearn). Octavo (21cm); second binding in gray cloth, blocked and titled in black and gilt on spine; gray topstain; dustjacket; xii,359,pp. Base of spine a bit nudged, lower rear board corner gently tapped (though still sharp), else Near Fine. Dustjacket is gently spine-sunned, showing modest external wear, shallow losses to spine ends, several nicks and tears, and a tiny puncture to upper front panel; just Very Good.
Attractive copy of Wright's first novel, which catapulted him into national fame. "The book is a shattering portrait of Bigger Thomas, the protagonist, who is a product of racism and oppression. The novel takes its readers through treacherous corridors of violence and retribution as it reflects much of the unrest in the American racial system" (BLOCKSON 76). "Bigger, hemmed in by the restrictions of white-dominated Chicago, commits a series of crimes, finding in them the only positive self-expression of his life" (COAN, p.194). While Wright provides no apologies for his protagonist's crimes, he portrays quite succinctly the systemic inevitability behind them. A stage version of the novel, co-written with Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Paul Green, was written in 1941, and Wright would go on to star as Bigger in Pierre Chenal's 1951 film adaptation of the novel. A cornerstone work of 20th century African American literature. HANNA 3906; RIDEOUT, p.298.