“SYNONYMOUS WITH EVERYTHING SUBVERSIVE”: Rare First Editions of Emma Goldman's Living My Life; Volume One Inscribed by Her and From the Library of Novelist Henry Miller
Living My Life.
Item Number: 99588
New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1931.
First editions of the famous radical’s autobiography, with frontispiece portraits and eleven additional photogravures of Goldman, fellow anarchist Alexander Berkman and others. Octavo, 2 volumes. Association copy, inscribed by the author in volume one on the front free endpaper, “To Frances Steloff Emma Goldman New York March 1934.” Volume one has Goldman’s bookplate, as well as that of the recipient. Steloff was the owner of Gotham Book Mart in New York City, where she often placed a box near her shop’s check-out counter for food donations for Henry Miller, and apparently she gave him this copy of Goldman’s autobiography. Miller had met Goldman when he was about 20, and he was greatly influenced by the anarchist feminist. From the personal library of Henry Miller. In very good condition. Signed examples of the first edition are scarce, and with noted provenance.
“For nearly 30 years, Emma Goldman had taunted conservative Americans with her outspoken attacks on government, big business and war? Her name became a household world, synonymous with everything subversive and demonic, but also symbolic of the ‘new woman’ and of the radical labor movement that blossomed in the years before WWI. To the public she was America’s arch revolutionary, both frightening and fascinating. She flaunted her lovers, talked back to the police, smoked in public and marched off to prison carrying James Joyce’s Portrait of the Artist under her arm” (Wexler, Emma Goldman in Exile). Goldman was urged to record her story for years by Peggy Guggenheim, fellow activists and others such as Theodore Dreiser, who insisted, “it is the richest of any woman’s of our century. Why in the name of Mike don’t you do it?” Finally, less than a decade before her death, she produced Living My Life, a work that remains one of America’s most valued social histories.