First Edition of Nathanael West's Miss Lonelyhearts; In the exceptionally rare Dust Jacket
WEST, Nathanael .
Item Number: 140436
New York: Liveright, 1933.
First edition, first issue of this humorous tale of alienation and advice in Depression era New York which was well-received, but the publisher went bankrupt almost immediately and bookshops were unable to source copies. Near fine in a near fine dust jacket with light rubbing and wear. Easily one of the nicest examples extant, with most examples in the original dust jacket well worn. The publisher, Liveright went bankrupt as the novel was being published, however, and the printer refused to release most of the copies. Despite favorable reviews, copies were unavailable to bookshops. In early June, Harcourt Brace took over the edition (their imprint comprises the second issue) but, by then, demand had diminished and the book was remaindered by Greenberg in 1934 (the third issue). Connolly 76. Jacket art by Boris Aronson. One of the most elusive of twentieth century highspots in American Literature. Rare.
Set in New York during the Great Depression, Miss Lonelyhearts concerns a nameless man assigned to produce a newspaper advice column — but as time passes he begins to break under the endless misery of those who write in, begging him for advice. Unable to find answers, and with his shaky Christianity ridiculed to razor-edged shards by his poisonous editor, he tumbles into alcoholism and a madness fueled by his own spiritual emptiness. Made into film three times, most notably in 1958 starring Montgomery Clift, Robert Ryan, and Myrna Loy.