First Editions & Signed

The House of Breath-William Goyen- 1950


  • Details
    The House of Breath, First Edition
    William Goyen
    Random House: New York, 1950

    First edition, first printing. Gray cloth with darker grey and white titles, wrapped in original non price clipped dust jacket designed by E. Mcknight Kauffer. Near fine in a very good dust jacket. A square, clean copy, pages unmarked and binding tight; dust jacket chipped in a few places, now protected in an archival mylar cover.

    “William Goyen wrote like no one else. He created surreal settings, wild characters, and baroque sex scenes—all constructed from the language and landscape of East Texas. And he might be the most daring and mysterious writer you’ve probably never read…The House of Breath, like all his longer fiction, is not a conventional novel with sustained plots and character arcs. He eschewed the cumbersome apparatus of the realist novel, all the stage directions and setups, the phone calls and cab rides. In this book and later works, Goyen would link disparate sections, each concerning a different character or episode, a process he likened to sewing together the medallions of a quilt. “A spangled fish” is how Reginald Gibbons, a poet and Goyen’s literary executor, aptly describes The House of Breath in an afterword written for the book’s fiftieth anniversary—it’s shimmering and elusive.”

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