Nancy Esdaile. First English Language Translation. Very Good / Very Good. Item #5004
London: John Calder, 1957. First English Language Translation. Inscribed by Henry Miller to Eve McClure, his fourth wife, on front free endpaper. Octavo; 134pp. Illustrations by Nancy Esdaile. Illustrated dust jacket with original 15s. net price; book in red cloth with gilt lettering to spine. Jacket rubbed with a number of small tears along edges, chipping at spine ends, and some smudging to back. Spine a bit rolled with bumping at head and tail. Unrelated notes in pencil on half title and opposite, else pages unmarked. Binding is sound. Scarce in jacket.
Fevered and obsessive masterwork by the father of Persian modernist fiction. Published in Bombay in 1937 with "Not for Sale or publication in Iran" stamped on the cover, the novel finally appeared in Hedayat's home country in 1941 after the abdication of Reza Shah, and became an immediate bestseller. The book has since been widely translated and variously banned, as well as blamed for an uptick in suicides among its readers. It appeared in French in 1953 and in English with this edition in 1957, and was praised by the likes of Andre Breton and Henry Miller, who at one point described it as the best book he had ever read and was keen to see it adapted to film (in a 1964 letter to Hedayat's French publisher Jose Corti, Miller writes "I never stop talking about Hedayat's book, and certainly not with cinema people...). Miller gave this copy to his fourth (ex-) wife Eve McClure, who appears to have in turn jotted plans for the weeks on either side of Christmas on the book's initial blanks ("prepare stuffing," "finish moving out old studio," etc.). Miller's inscription is dated 10/24/62, four months after their divorce was finalized.