FAULKNER, William. Light in August. New York: Harrison Smith and Robert Haas, 1932.
8o. Original coarse-grained grey cloth, stamped in orange on the front cover and in blue and orange on the spine [first binding]; pictorial dust jacket (slightest edgewear, otherwise extremely fine and bright); WITH THE VERY RARE PLAIN GLASSINE OUTER WRAPPER (some chipping, rear panel torn). Provenance: MALCOLM COWLEY (1898-1989), American novelist, poet, literary critic, and journalist (presentation inscription); Jonathan Goodwin (his sale, Sotheby's New York, March 29, 1977, lot 92).
FIRST EDITION, FIRST BINDING. OUTSTANDING ASSOCIATION COPY, INSCRIBED BY FAULKNER TO MALCOLM COWLEY on the front free endpaper: "For Malcolm Cowley William Faulkner Sherman, Conn. 25 Oct. 1948." This copy was inscribed during a visit to Cowley's home while Cowley was working on a profile of Faulkner for Life magazine.
Light in August is one of Faulkner's most highly acclaimed works. The novel revolves around three main characters: Lena Grove, a woman searching for the father of her unborn child; Gail Hightower, an elderly troubled minister; and Joe Christmas, a man struggling with his belief that he is part black. "As Faulkner weaves together the stories of these three characters, he explores the devastating effects of racism and religious fanaticism. Inevitably, however, the novel's tragic elements are juxtaposed with resilience and optimism, especially in its closing pages. Light in August thus becomes an apt illustration of this famous passage from Faulkner's Nobel Prize address: 'I believe that man will not merely endure: he will prevail. He is immortal, not because he alone among creatures has an inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance'."--"Light in August: Introduction." Novels for Students. Ed. Marie Rose Napierkowski. Vol. 24. Detroit: Gale, 1998.
In 1946 Cowley edited Viking's edition of The Portable Faulkner (see lot 84), and his compilation introduced Faulkner's work to a new generation of readers. Largely due to Cowley's efforts, Faulkner finally achieved the critical and popular acclaim that had eluded him-- epitomized in his receiving the 1949 Nobel Prize in Literature.
Along with this copy of Light in August, Faulkner inscribed seven of his other books to Cowley on the same day (all eight of these copies passed through the hands of the bookseller Henry Wenning to the collector Jonathan Goodwin). The Goodwin-Neville copy of Intruder in the Dust sold at Sotheby's New York in 2004 (see lot 85). See Malcolm Cowley, The Faulkner-Cowley File. Letters and Memories, 1944-1962.
THE VERY FINE GOODWIN COPY, PRESERVING THE PLAIN GLASSINE OUTER WRAPPER. Massey 103; Petersen A13.1a.