Very Good. Item #6297
New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., 1933-1946. Stated Firsts: Vols. 1, 3-7, 13-14; Second Printing: Vol. 2: "First and Second Printing Before Publication": Vols. 8-9; unstated "wartime edition": Vols. 10-12. Octavo, various cumulative paginations from 385 to 615. Dust jackets present for Vols 8, 9, 11, 12.
Modernist cubist bindings in combinations of black, gold, plum, rust, teal, and navy by Clarence P. Hornung; contrasting topstains on all textblocks. Extant jackets in complementary color block design.
Jacket spines sunned with closed micro-tears; chips (of about 1cm) are missing on jackets for Vols. 13 and 14. All bindings solid. All spines lightly sunned or tanned (even on those with jackets); slight fraying on several board corners and edges, crowns and feet of spines. Vol. 1 is complete but signatures are out of order between pp. 66 and 82. Vol. 11 (alone) has two-color bookplate from a prior-to-prior owner, creating offset on facing endpaper. Pages are unopened in character indices and other ancillaries on several later volumes.
This complete set of the American edition, noted for its design, appears to have been aggregated from several sources by the immediate previous owner of all 14 volumes—though it should be recognized that all owners needed to aggregate, since the volumes were published separately over the course of 13 years.
Romains's celebrated multi-volume roman-fleuve—a "book like a river" in its sheer on-goingness—outstrips Proust in length and overlaps him in historical period, but is perhaps most like Powell's Dance to the Music of Time in its crowd of differentiated characters, its coverage of peace and war, and its hopping up and down the demographic ladder. It was published as 27 volumes in France, reconfigured in pairs (but not shortened) as 14 volumes in its handsomely designed Knopf edition.