PYNCHON, Thomas (b. 1937). V. Philadelphia and New York: J.B. Lippincott, 1963.
8o. Original violet cloth; pictorial dust jacket (very pale dampstaining along spine panel); quarter morocco folding case, spine and front cover with morocco and cloth onlays.
FIRST EDITION OF PYNCHON'S FIRST BOOK. PRESENTATION COPY, INSCRIBED on the title-page: "For Ken-- Hope you enjoy it-- All the best, Thomas Pynchon." PYNCHON PRESENTATIONS ARE VIRTUALLY UNOBTAINABLE, with only the present copy of V. recorded in American Book Prices Current. His signature is certainly the most elusive in Post-War American literature. Ken Taub was a friend of Pynchon's sister and obtained the inscription through her. The dust jacket is the first issue, without the reviews.
Thomas Pynchon was born in Glen Cove, N.Y., graudated from Oyster Bay High School in 1953 and attended the Engineering and Physics division of Cornell University, leaving at the end of his second year to join the U.S. Navy. He returned to Cornell in 1957 to persue a degree in Eglish literature, and published his first story, "A Small Rain," in the May 1959 issue of Cornell Writer. After graduation, he worked as an engineering aid for Boeing, writing technical documents, while working on V. in his spare time. When the novel was published in 1963, it was awarded the William Faulkner Foundation Award for the best first novel of the year. After the publication of Gravity's Rainbow (see following lot), Pynchon became notorious for his avoidance of public recognition, with rumors circulating questioning his identity. Just before the publication of Mason & Dixon in 1997, Pynchon was tracked down and filmed by CNN, generating the author's ire. He agreed to a short interview under the condition that no photos would be released, and when asked about his reclusive nature, replied: "My belief is that 'recluse' is a code word generated by journalists...meaning, 'doesn't like to talk to reporters.'" He has been named one of the four most important American authors of his period.