Ramona. A Story
Boston: Roberts Brothers, 1884.
Boston: Roberts Brothers, 1884. First edition. Original mustard publisher's cloth binding stamped in gilt on the spine and black and gilt on the front board. Floral endpapers. A Fine copy with a touch of wear at the corners and front hinge invisibly strengthened. Morocco bookplate of John Stuart Groves to front pastedown. Loosely laid in publisher's check from Fields, Osgood & Company for $75 made out to Helen Hunt in 1870 and endorsed by the author on the verso. Complete with four pages of publisher's ads in the rear. In all, a bright, pleasing copy of an important work usually found in worn condition. Housed in a custom half morocco slipcase with chemise.
Following a series of devastating personal losses, Helen Hunt Jackson turned to writing both fiction and non-fiction as a means of supporting herself. Throughout her career, her works had a decidedly progressive bent. "By the 1880s, when Jackson first visited Southern California, she was an unabashed activist as well as a belletrist. Ramona offers an almost unmitigated denunciation of U.S. imperialism in California, presenting the region in a dystopian light, as a paradise gone bad" (Phillips). The work for which she is now best remembered, Ramona narrates the tragedy of a half-Indigenous and half-Scottish woman and her Indigenous lover Alessandro. The prejudices of those around them force the couple "to wander through Southern California as through a nightmare world, isolated, dispossessed of their rightful connection to the land, and longing to be consoled for the ruin of their dreams. Jackson created the first figures in a long line of disappointed, deracinated heroes who populate the later Southern California fiction of writers as diverse as Nathanael West, Evelyn Waugh, Thomas Pynchon, and Joan Didion" (Phillips).
Zamorano 80. BAL 10456. Fine (Item #5270)