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Whither
Boston: Small, Maynard & Company. (1925). First. First edition. Fine in attractive, very near fine dustwrapper (with art by Harold Cue), with a couple of tiny nicks. Powell's rare first novel, a blatantly autobiographical novel about a small town girl in her twenties from the Midwest aspiring to become a writer in New York, haunting Greenwich Village, drinking in speakeasies, finding romance and success, and finally tarted up at the conclusion with an uncharacteristic and unbelievable happy ending. According to biographer Tim Page: "Powell disavowed the book almost immediately, well before her second novel, She Walks in Beauty, was promoted as her debut in 1928. Thereafter, she refused even to acknowledge Whither in her biography or in lists of her publications...she...was quite put out when her young friend Hannah Green found a copy in a secondhand bookstore in the early 1960s." Powell was a satirical, proto-feminist novelist who has recently been rediscovered. Gore Vidal, whose critical essay helped restore her fame, called her a better satirist than Twain and said that she was "our best comic novelist." Although Ernest Hemingway once told her she was his "favorite living novelist", she was not averse to poking fun at Hemingway himself, which she did in her novel, The Wicked Pavilion. Novelist Lisa Zeidner, in a review of the recent biography of Powell in The New York Times Book Review, said that "she is wittier than Dorothy Parker, dissects the rich better than F. Scott Fitzgerald, is more plaintive than Willa Cather in her evocation of the heartland and has a more supple control of satirical voice than Evelyn Waugh, the writer to whom she's most often compared." Powell was an archetypal free spirit, living much of her life in Greenwich Village, taking -- and flaunting -- lovers frequently although she was married, and mercilessly skewering the postures and foibles of an array of New York types, from the bohemian artists to the wealthy tycoons. Reportedly Powell went out of her way to purchase and destroy copies, which may be why this is only the second jacketed copy we have seen. A true rarity, the spurned first novel of an iconic New York writer, in the pretty much impossible jacket. .
      [Bookseller: Between the Covers- Rare Books, Inc. ABA]
Last Found On: 2014-10-02           Check availability:      Biblio    

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