New York: Boni & Liveright, MCMXXVI . First Edition. Hardcover. First Printing, one of only 2500 copies, of the author's first novel. 8vo: 319,pp. Publisher's navy blue cloth, spine and upper cover stamped in yellow, fore-edge untrimmed, stylized blue and white vine-patterned end papers, title page in red and black. A beautiful, crisp, fresh copy, hinges sound and uncracked, pages clean, bright and unmarked, excepting manuscript ex-libris to half-title and verso of front fly leaf, and these trivial faults: one dog-ear, one leaf edge vertically creased, thin one-inch streak to upper cover, otherwise spotless. Without the scarce dust jacket. Petersen A2.1. Fine-. Item #BB1516
¶ In 1925, Faulkner moved to New Orleans where he joined a literary circle centered on Sherwood Anderson and was introduced to the modernist innovations of T. S. Eliot and James Joyce. His interest in experimental writing was piqued, and he began a novel, his first, Soldiers' Pay, portraying the tragic homecoming of a wounded war hero. Though set in Georgia, it was, nonetheless, a kind of rehearsal for the later Mississippi novels, full of despair and “mythic motifs of impotence and futile love." (Literary Encyclopedia) Andersen recommended the book for publication, without having ever read it. Note: With few exceptions (always identified), we only stock books in exceptional condition, carefully preserved in archival, removable polypropylene sleeves. All orders are packaged with care and posted promptly. Satisfaction guaranteed. In 1921, Faulkner worked briefly in a New York bookstore, where he met Elizabeth Prall, who later married Sherwood Anderson. That led to an apprenticeship with Anderson when Faulkner moved to New Orleans in 1925. "In a starry literary circle [Faulkner] was inspired to experiment with prose pieces, many of which he published in the New Orleans Picayune and the fledgling literary journal, The Double Dealer. Friends acquainted him with Freud, the mythic world of the anthropologist Sir James Frazer's Golden Bough, and most importantly, the modernist innovations of T. S. Eliot and James Joyce. Faulkner's absorbed interest in experimental writing proceeded apace; building on his brief published pieces in local venues, he began a novel, Soldiers' Pay, which portrayed the tragic homecoming of a fatally wounded war hero. Set in Georgia, it was, nonetheless a kind of rehearsal for the later Mississippi novels. Full of despair and “fisher-king” mythic motifs of impotence and futile love, the novel focussed on the returning veteran, Mahon, who is accompanied by a fellow soldier and a young widow, both met on the homeward bound train. Mahon's heartless flapper fiancé, another woman he has deserted, a jaded, randy intellectual and Mahon's minister father complete a cast that plays out a tragic story of a sterile postwar world in which old loyalties and values seem to mean little. Anderson, who had promised Faulkner he would get the book in print if he didn't have to read it, came through, and the novel was published in 1926." (Literary Encyclopedia).