MAILER, Norman (b. 1923). The Naked and the Dead. New York: Rinehart and Company, 1948.
8o. Original black cloth (rubbed, a bit shaken, newspaper clipping about Mailer pasted to front free endpaper); pictorial dust jacket (slightly faded, some light edgewear). Provenance: JAMES JONES (1921-1977), American writer (presentation inscription; his signature on front pastedown, and occasional pencil marginalia).
FIRST EDITION, second printing. AN IMPORTANT LITERARY ASSOCIATION COPY, INSCRIBED BY MAILER TO HIS FRIEND JAMES JONES, AUTHOR OF 'FROM HERE TO ETERNITY' on the half-title: "To Jim -- who is altogether a writer; in friendship and admiration-- Norman Mailer June '53."
Mailer and Jones met in 1952, when Jones had travelled to New York to accept the National Book Award for From Here to Eternity. They convened for drinks and were joined by William Styron. The three formed a close association. "[Jones] saw a great deal of Mailer and Styron during that New York stay. One night when they were in Greenwich Village, Styron put his arms around the shoulders of the other two and said 'Here we are, the three best writers of our generation'" (George Hendrick, ed. To Reach Eternity: The Letters of James Jones).
Jones wrote to Mailer three years later about the impact of their friendship on his life: "You know out of all the people I've met, I've only met two real writers besides myself, and that's you and Billy. All of us have our flaws or shortcomings and our blind alleys which we cause ourselves; but the others, like Vance and Aldrich... don't even have that... And that's why I take you two so personally, I guess. If either of you fails, it's like a part of me fails too; and I'm sure that both of you feel that of me" (Letters, ed. Hendrick, May 3, 1955).
Jones's occasional marginalia includes the trenchant observation on page 571, where Mailer has General Cummings quoting Nietzsche: "not true if man rises above the animal plane--Christ refuted this materialistic viewpoint. Romans 9: 'there are those outside the law,' Paul wrote. 'Oh death where is thy sting.'" A SUPERB ASSOCIATION COPY, CONNECTING TWO OF THE MOST IMPORTANT WRITERS TO EMERGE FROM THE SECOND WORLD WAR.