New York: Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1940. First edition. First issue binding in dark blue cloth, with a date of 1940 on the title page, "First Edition" stated on the copyright page and a publisher's code of "A-P" just below the edition statement. Jacket is first issue priced at $2.50 and without blurbs on the spine. A Fine copy in like dust jacket. Extremely uncommon in this condition. Housed in a green custom clamshell case.
A difficult and important novel, Native Son draws on literary antecedents like Crime & Punishment to explore race and racism in America. Depicting the murder of a white woman by a black man, Wright’s novel exposed important questions about enduring and systemic oppression of African Americans “’The day Native Son appeared, American culture was changed forever,’ Irving Howe once wrote, and the remark has been quoted many times. What Howe meant was that after Native Son it was no longer possible to pretend…that the history of racial oppression was a legacy from which we could emerge without suffering an enduring penalty. White American had attempted to dehumanize black Americans, and every one carried the scars; it would take more than calling American ‘Land of the Free’ and really meaning it to make the country whole…Native Son also stands at the beginning of a period in which novels by black Americans have treated the subject of race with a lack of gentility almost unimaginable before 1940” (New York Times). Unlike Civil War and Reconstruction era works that sought to ingrain the Noble Negro in the cultural imaginary, Wright and his peers forced their fellow citizens to confront the history and continuation of racism in all its ugliness. Adapted to film in 1986, there are recent reports that another film will be appearing in 2019 or 2020. Fine in Fine dust jacket. (Item #5129)