The Winter of Our Discontent.

“It's so much darker when a light goes out than it would have been if it had never shone": First Edition of John Steinbeck's The Winter of Discontent; Inscribed by Him

The Winter of Our Discontent.


Item Number: 71056

New York: The Viking Press, 1961.

First edition of Steinbeck’s final novel, which along with The Grapes of Wrath are considered his masterpieces. Octavo, original cloth. Presentation copy, inscribed by the author on the front free endpaper in the year of publication, “For Betty Beecher, with all the best John Steinbeck Sag Harbor 1961.” The photograph of Steinbeck on the rear panel of the dust jacket is by William Ward Beecher (the husband of Betty) who has signed his name on the rear panel. Also laid in is a small clipping from the brown wrapping paper in which the book was shipped, in the author’s handwriting “From John Steinbeck Box 1017 Sag Harbor NY.” Some light dampstaining in a very good dust jacket. Jacket design by Elmer Hader. Lettering by Jeanyee Wong. Photograph by William Ward Beecher. Housed in a custom half morocco clamshell box. Presentations copies of Steinbeck’s masterpiece are rare.

In awarding John Steinbeck the 1962 Nobel Prize in Literature, the Nobel committee stated that with The Winter of Our Discontent, he had “resumed his position as an independent expounder of the truth, with an unbiased instinct for what is genuinely American.” Ethan Allen Hawley, the protagonist of Steinbeck’s last novel, works as a clerk in a grocery store that his family once owned. With Ethan no longer a member of Long Island’s aristocratic class, his wife is restless, and his teenage children are hungry for the tantalizing material comforts he cannot provide. Then one day, in a moment of moral crisis, Ethan decides to take a holiday from his own scrupulous standards. Set in Steinbeck’s contemporary 1960 America, the novel explores the tenuous line between private and public honesty, and today ranks alongside his most acclaimed works of penetrating insight into the American condition.

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