New York: Signet Books, 1948. First edition thus. First publication of "The Old Man" as a stand-alone work (originally published as part of "The Wild Palms"). Inscribed by the author when he visited Kurt Enoch in New York city: "William Faulkner, New York 5 Feb. 1950 Mr. Enoch." A very nearly Fine copy, only slightly faded at the spine and a trivial tear at the margin of the first page.
This first separate publication of The Old Man, proposed to Kurt Enoch by Faulkner himself, transformed one half of Faulkner's The Wild Palms into a stand-alone narrative. By untangling the two interwoven narratives of his original novel, Faulkner places focus on the story of "a pale eyed boy who tries to rob a train and, after many blurred years in prison has bestowed upon him by the flooding Mississippi a useless and atrocious freedom" (Day). As a separate publication, The Old Man becomes an important rumination on the meaning and costs of human freedom; and it draws attention to the "independent perfection" of the story (Jewkes).
Provenance: From the library of Kurt Enoch, who founded the New American Library and subsequently its Signet and Penguin imprints, and who in the late 1940s invented the mass market paperback, bringing the work of many great authors to a vast and entirely new readership. Near Fine (Item #2038)