New York: Harcourt Brace, (1952). First edition. Yellow boards, with a 3/4 inch chip at top of spine,otherwise very good, without dust jacket. Presentation copy to Reynolds and Jean Allen, dated May 1952. On May 14,1942, almost exactly a decade prior to the book's publication, Reynolds Allen beat Flannery O'Connor out for the top prize in a statewide essay writing contest, receiving a full four-year scholarship to any Georgia college of his choosing; O'Connor won second place and was awarded $10. Both were aspiring writers, and had been friendly enough as classmates at Peabody High School that they once went on a double date (O'Connor's date was Dick Allen, Reynolds's cousin). When she moved back to Georgia in 1950, O'Connor helped to edit some of Allen's mystery stories, none of which appear to have been published. Allen, who attended Emory University, became a lifelong banker and a prominent Milledgeville business man. He remained friendly with O'Connor until her death, and is occasionally cited in biographical sources. The Milledgeville library, Georgia State College for Women, and several local socialites held "autograph parties" for O'Connor when Wise Blood was published on May 15, 1952, much to her distaste ("Around here if you publish the number of whiskers on the local pigs, everybody has to give you a tea," she complained to Robie Macauley at the time (Gooch 209)), and it is likely that the Allens received their copy at one of these. Nevertheless, inscribed copies of the notoriously cheaply-bound novel are relatively uncommon in the trade. Item #32164
Yellow cloth stamped in grey. In good only condition, with a coffee-colored stain and approx. 3/4" loss to crown of spine, small pinkish stain to head of front endpapers, and gutter break at half-title and rear terminals. Otherwise clean internally, with a clear inscription.8-1/4" x 5-3/4". 232 pp.