Item #13776 Not Without Laughter [Signed]. Langston Hughes, Aaron Douglas, dust jacket.

Not Without Laughter [Signed]

Very Good / Very Good. Item #13776

New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1933. Later printing, "Cheaper Edition," after original 1930 publication. Signed by Langston Hughes and dated October 13, 1935 at front free endpaper (details below). Octavo. 324 pp. Aaron Douglas-illustrated dust jacket with $1.00 price present. Orange boards stamped in red and black. Charcoal topstain.

Dust jacket is chipped and toned with creasing along edges. Boards show light edgewear with some minor fraying to crown. Rear hinge exposed along final leaf, but binding is sound. Off-setting to endpapers, but pages unmarked. Scarce signed and in jacket.

October 1935 was marked by triumph and tumult for Hughes, and the day this book was inscribed, October 13, Hughes was in the midst of giving lectures in Minneapolis to the largest crowds he had ever had, with a radio station set to broadcast them even more widely. His play "Mulatto: A Tale of the Deep South," was set to premier on Broadway on the 25th. However, director/produces Martin Jones altered much of the plot, reviews were savagely negative, and Hughes was devastated. Bitterly ashamed by the public ridicule, Hughes escaped New York to head to Ohio, and "gloomy in the interior of the moving train, Hughes turned instinctively to verse to capture his sense of hurt," (Rampersad p. 315). Hughes channeled this pain into "Let America Be America Again," a poem that tells how the American Dream was never real for African-Americans, immigrants, and other minority groups. The poem was recited most famously by Thurgood Marshall in 1992 to the American Bar Association, and continues to creep into the public conscience, most recently as the title of a collection of Hughes' poetry.

[Reference: Rampersad, Arnold. The Life of Langston Hughes (1986).].

Price: $1,500.00