First edition of Buechner's The Return of Ansel Gibbs; Lengthily inscribed by him

  • The Return of Ansel Gibbs.
  • The Return of Ansel Gibbs.
  • The Return of Ansel Gibbs.

The Return of Ansel Gibbs.


Item Number: 92506

New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1957.

First edition of Buechner’s third book. Octavo, original cloth. Presentation copy, lengthily inscribed by the author on the front free endpaper, “This is full of real people…Dr. Kuykendall was based on my great Old Testament professor at Union Seminary James Milenburg. Ansel Gibbs himself was an amalgam of my old Lawrenceville headmaster, Allen Heely, and my cousin Lewis Duplas, who was the U.S. Ambassador to England, and so the name “Ansel Gibbs” I invented. Some five or more years afterwards, a boat sunk in the Boston Harbor during the War of 1812 was salvaged. Her name was “the Ansel Gibbs” – for Christopher Patrick, Celia and Greg Ross with blessings. Frederick Buechner.” Near fine in a near fine dust jacket. Jacket photograph by Elliot Erwitt. Rare and desirable with such a lengthy inscription by Buechner relaying the origins of this popular early novel.

Buechner's central character in The Return of Ansel Gibbs is a man of words, sophistication, breeding and sensitivity. As the novel opens, a nomination to a cabinet post by the president precipitates a personal crisis for Gibbs, who has been in retirement for two years on his farm in Montana and now must journey to Washington for Senate hearings to confirm his appointment. Moving into a wider, more public world than in his previous books, the novel proves to be one of Buechner's most interesting and creative novels.

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