New York: Covici Friede, 1935. First edition. First edition, first printing, cloth issue. Original publisher's cloth binding housed in a price-clipped dust jacket. Spine gently bruised, a couple faint marks to top edge of book block. A markedly bright, clean copy in the faintly toned jacket, spine browned, else the blue lettering and illustrations remaining fresh, two small, neat tape repairs to top edge verso, a few marks. Inscribed by the author "For Bob Bailey John Steinbeck" on the front free endpaper. This copy is from the library of Jean Hersholt (1896-1956), a Danish-American Hollywood actor known for his role in Heidi and for his impressive collection of Anderseniana, which represented possibly the largest collection in America of Andersen's work. Another book inscribed to Bob Bailey by Steinbeck, The Pastures of Heaven (1932), was also part of Hersholt’s collection, and was sold at his sale at Parke Bernet in 1954. Bailey remains an untraceable recipient; it is possible that, given Hersholt’s film career and Steinbeck's close involvement with the work of various Hollywood studios, he is the American radio and movie actor Bob Bailey (1913-1983).Illustrated bookplate of Jean Hersholt to front pastedown, signed by him in ink below; his library label to inside of slipcase chemise, hand-numbered "S. 28"; bookseller label to rear endpaper, “Gelber Lilienthal Inc., San Francisco.” Inscription along gutter of front free endpaper in ink reading “2760 1935 [? illegible]”; likely referring to a former library identification system, sometime bleached in an attempt to lighten the writing. Housed in a custom blue quarter leatherette slipcase and matching chemise (slipcase worn).
Steinbeck’s first critical and commercial success, the novel was inspired by the Arthurian legends he had loved in boyhood. But, setting the tone for his career, Steinbeck could not escape Monterey, California; and it became the setting for an unforgettable group of characters and a new consideration of chivalry in the Western U.S. When Danny inherits two houses from his grandfather, they provide him with space for the gathering of a circle of friends who swear to serve the helpless but whose adventures lead them to confront complex situations shaped by greed, poverty, love, and trust. Fine in Near Fine dust jacket. (Item #3076)