11 October 2002
STEINBECK, John. Of Mice and Men. A Play in Three Acts. New York: Covici-Friede, 1937.
8o. Original beige cloth; dust jacket (slightest fading to spine panel).
FIRST EDITION, in second(?) state dust jacket, with reviews on rear flap. SIGNED BY THE ENTIRE CAST AND STEINBECK on the "cast of characters" leaf. The novel Of Mice and Men was published earlier in 1937 and immediately became a critically-acclaimed bestseller. Steinbeck had originally conceived of Of Mice and Men as a play, so when George S. Kaufman proposed to direct a play version for a Broadway production, Steinbeck agreed to write the dramatic adaption. Kaufman told him that Of Mice and Men drops almost naturally into play form and no one knows that better than you."
The play opened at the Music Box Theatre in the 1937, with Wallace Ford as George, Broderick Crawford as Lennie, Claire Luce as Curley's wife, and Will Geer as Slim. Stark Young, critic for the New Republic, wrote of the performance: "How one might describe 'Of Mice and Men' as we got it at the Music Box I do not know; I have never seen a play quite like it, have no previous acquaintance with the nature of its supsense, or with the curious artistic satisfaction that its development affords. But from the last point its quality derives, I am sure of that... It remains artifice, theatre, a work of art; but it loses nothing by it." Steinbeck and Kaufman were elated by the success of the production, but their working relationship was short-lived. A VERY FINE COPY SIGNED BY THE ORIGINAL CAST AND AUTHOR. Goldstone and Payne A8a.
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