WOLFE, Thomas (1900-1938). Look Homeward, Angel. A Story of the Buried Life. New York: Scribner's 1929. 8o. Original black cloth (covers a little soiled, wear at ends of spine and three-forecorners, rear inner hinge broken, preliminary leaves a little soiled).
FIRST EDITION of the author's first regularly published book. AN EXCEPTIONAL PRESENTATION COPY, inscribed by Wolfe to his closest sister on the title-page: "To my sister, Mabel, I present this copy of my first book, with love, and with remembrance of the long way we came together. Thomas Wolfe, Oct. 15, 1929" (publication date was 18 October). Wolfe's oldest sister Mabel acted as a surrogate wife to their father and as a mother to Tom; it was she who especially gave him encouragement in his writing. In Look Homeward, Angel, she was the model for Eugene Gant's older sister Helen (the Gant family in the novel was based on Wolfe's own family). The publication of the book caused an uproar in Asheville, North Carolina (the Wolfes' hometown), and perhaps hurt Mabel the most. But she stood by the writer and urged him to keep working on his next book, remarking in a letter to Tom: "You know how Papa always wanted us to succeed, and how he always said, 'Don't be a non-entity'...Well, we Wolfes aren't nonentities now" (David Herbert Donald, Look Homeward: A Life of Thomas Wolfe, Boston, 1987, p. 218). Johnson A2.I.a.