Red Harvest. Dashiell Hammett.
Red Harvest

Red Harvest

New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1929. First Edition. Hardcover. 1st edition of his first book, a multi–murder mystery set in fictitious Personville, pronounced “Poisonville” by the residents, only partially because of their local accents. Near fine in a very good 1st printing dustjacket, particularly fresh and bright, and this jacket has never been touched by the restorer. Now, read the next 3 sentences slowly. The 1st printing of this dustjacket is rare. It has a synopsis of the plot on the back panel, and it should not be confused with the 2nd printing of the jacket which has 17 lines of blurbs from The Outlook, etc. The 1st printing jacket was not seen by Layman (the bibliographer) who incorrectly describes the 2nd printing jacket as if it were the 1st, but there is no doubt of the priority for our jacket, and there is no doubt that, elusive as it is, all the earliest copies of Red Harvest were published with this jacket. Red Harvest is the icon that originated the hardboiled detective novel, a new world writing inventions of phenomenal influence, with hundreds of its literary descendants amplifying the genre to this very day, but paradigms don’t just fall from the sky. They evolve in a progression, this one from Bentley’s naturalist mystery, Trent’s Last Case (1913), Doyle’s Valley of Fear, Shaw’s Black Mask detective magazine (beginning in 1919, and with portions of this novel appearing in 4 issues, from 1927 and 1928), the pithy prose of Ernest Hemingway, and Hammett’s own hardboiled short story, Fly Paper. And consciousness often sees sequence flow from necessity, so Hammett worked for, and keenly studied, The Pinkerton Detective Agency, then pondered his experiences for years before trying his style in a short story, and finally writing this novel. In the exemplary instance, the chicken came first, because God’s too busy to sit on an egg. Near fine / very good. Item #267

Price: $80,000.00

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