First Edition of The Magic Barrel; Inscribed by Bernard Malamud

  • The Magic Barrel.

The Magic Barrel.

Item Number: 4107

New York: Farrar, Straus and Cudahy, 1958.

First edition of Malamud’s first collection of short stories, which went on to win the National Book Award. Octavo, original cloth. Inscribed by the author on the front free endpaper, “All good wishes to Chet and Louise Sincerely Bern Corvallis 1959.” The recipients were, Chester (Chet) and Louise Garrison, who were colleagues and close friends of the Malamud’s during the years they lived in Oregon. Near fine in a near fine dust jacket that shows light wear to the spine. Jacket design by Milton Glaser.

The Magic Barrel, has been recognized as a classic from the time it was published in 1959. The stories are set in New York and in Italy (where Malamud's alter ego, the struggling New York Jewish Painter Arthur Fidelman, roams amid the ruins of old Europe in search of his artistic patrimony); they tell of egg candlers and shoemakers, matchmakers, and rabbis, in a voice that blends vigorous urban realism, Yiddish idiom, and a dash of artistic magic. "In the short story, Malamud achieved an almost psalmlike compression. He has been called the Jewish Hawthorne, but he might just as well be thought a Jewish Chopin, a prose composer of preludes and noctures" (Mark Shechner, Partisan Review).