“When I grow old I want to regret the things I've done, not the things I haven't done": First Edition of Herman Wouk's Youngblood Hawke; Signed by Him

  • Youngblood Hawke.

Youngblood Hawke.


Item Number: 79027

Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Company, Inc, 1962.

First edition of this fictionalized work based on the life of Thomas Wolfe. Octavo, original cloth. Boldly signed by Herman Wouk on the title page. Fine in a very good dust jacket with light rubbing and wear. Jacket design by Paul Bacon.

Wouk's classic work tells the story of Arthur Youngblood Hawke, an ex-Navy man from rural Kentucky who comes to New York to publish his first novel, Alms for Oblivion. Arthur's late father had literary ambitions, but his mother has a more worldly temperament and spends years trying to pry a fortune from family relations in the coal mining business. Hawke's parentage helps explain the conflict between his mastery of the written word and his sometimes obsessive hunt for wealth. After publishing his first novel, he falls in with an older married woman, Frieda Winter, with whom he maintains an emotionally tumultuous affair for too long. He also carries a torch for Jeanne Green, his editor who has helped make his work commercially viable. His second novel is an unqualified success and he becomes a literary sensation. His fame carries with it some wealth, but Arthur has a weakness for building even more wealth fast. He gets involved with Scott Hoag, a builder from his own town, who gives him the opportunity to participate in real estate developments such as suburban shopping centers. In a few years, Arthur overextends himself and winds up seriously in debt. In the end, he works himself to death between the money he owes; jealousy over Jeanne, the love of his life (who married a man she didn't love to spite him) and the tragedy of Frieda Winter's son's suicide, for which Hawke feels responsible. A head trauma from his days of coal trucking also comes into play, and (like Thomas Wolfe) he eventually dies of an infection at a young age. In his legacy after death, he achieves the status that he had sought while alive. It was the basis for the 1964 film directed by Delmer Daves, starring James Franciscus and Suzanne Pleshette.

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