First Edition of Nathanael West's The Day of the Locust
The Day of the Locust.
Item Number: 94875
New York: Random House, 1939.
First edition of West’s masterpiece. Octavo, original cloth. Near fine in a very good dust jacket.
A Hollywood screenwriter during the 1930s, West was "fascinated by the underbelly of Los Angeles" and used his experiences to compose what many consider the definitive Hollywood novel (New York Times). "West's The Day of the Locust remains the best of the hundreds of Hollywood novels written… F. Scott Fitzgerald, who was himself working on The Last Tycoon, said that novel had 'scenes of extraordinary power'" (ANB). On its publication, Dorothy Parker called the novel "brilliant, savage and arresting," and The New York Times praised it as an astounding and "effective grotesque… a nightmare of lust and violence." "An unusual and highly original talent, West was one of the first and best American writers of black comedy… Miss Lonelyhearts and The Day of the Locust are his most compelling and effective works" (Benet's Reader's Encyclopedia, 1056-57). It was listed by Modern Library as one of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century. Time magazine included the novel in its list of 100 best English-language novels from 1923 to 2005. Critic Harold Bloom included it in his list of canonical works in the book The Western Canon. It was adapted into the critically acclaimed film directed by John Schlesinger starring William Atherton, Donald Sutherland, Burgess Meredith, and Karen Black.