11 October 2002
KEROUAC, Jack. The Dharma Bums. New York: The Viking Press, 1958.
8o. (Light dampstaining to a few leaves.) Original black cloth (covers slightly bowed and soiled from dampstaining); pictorial dust jacket (rubbed). Provenance: Gabrielle Kerouac (presentation inscription).
FIRST EDITION. PRESENTATION COPY, INSCRIBED BY KEROUAC TO HIS MOTHER AND HER TWO CATS on the front free endpaper: "To Ma--& Timmy--& Tyke A third adventure to pay for the house, the cat food, the brandy & the peaceful sleep From Dharma Bum Jack Ti Jean XXXX Ma, you're on pages 132, 133, 148 Little Paul on pages 140 Big Paul 143-144." Approximately 13,000 copies of The Dharma Bums were issued on 2 October 1958.
A BOOK RARELY FOUND INSCRIBED: No other inscribed copy of The Dharma Bums has appeared at auction, according to American Book Prices Current, and a copy with a closer association is difficult to imagine. Gabrielle Kerouac, and the Catholicism at her core, were central to Jack Kerouac's personality and development as a writer. In Women of the Beat Generation, a letter from Gabrielle to Jack exemplifies their attachment: "Honey, I'm still not able to realize that you have left me for good. I keep searching the Boulevard looking out the window for hours thinking I'll see you come walking and waving to me. I dare say I miss you a lot now and more so now that I know you don't belong to me anymore but that's life and sooner or later I'll get used to the idea. I hope you will be very happy, Honey, and that nothing will ever stop you from being a great 'Man.' With the help of your new Mother and a good Wife you should become a great 'writer.'" The two Paul's referred to in the inscription are Paul Blake, husband of Kerouac's sister Carlone, and his son. Despite his wanderlust and continual travel, Kerouac always returned to mémêre. Jack was living in St. Petersburg, Florida with his mother and his wife Stella when he died in 1969. Charters A4a.
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