San Francisco: Printed by John Henry Nash for the Book Club of California, 1934. Little, Phil. Limited Edition. Japanese Stab Binding. Number 126 of 500 copies, folio size, 48 pp., illustrated. Very good. Item #17100503
Bret Harte's racially insensitive poem was first published as "Plain Language From Truthful James" in The Overland Monthly, 1870. Harte originally meant the poem as a satirical challenge to anti-Chinese sentiment in northern California, but later claimed it was “the worst poem I ever wrote, possibly the worst poem anyone ever wrote,” likely because its satire was completely lost on his readers and was rather adopted and weaponized to reinforce those racist sentiments. With an introduction by Ina Coolbrith, the first Poet Laureate of California, which is much more in praise of the author than of this work.
___DESCRIPTION: In a threefold tan linen portfolio case with Chinese ideogram title pastedown and two ivory clasps, in stiff blue boards with stitched cord binding, ideogram pastedown to upper board, plain endpapers, pages french-fold, eleven illustrations by Phil Little; type Bulmer, American vellum paper made especially for this work, folio size (14" by 11.5"), 48 pp., number 126 of 500 copies. With prospectus, full size, in red wraps with the same stitched cord binding, same ideogram pastedown to the front wrap, consisting of three french-fold leaves, two pages with the prospectus, and one with a sample illustration from the book.
___CONDITION: A very good copy, internally bright with no prior owner marks, the original prospectus is in like condition, hinges and joints are sound, condition issues are limited to some rubbing around the edges and faint sunning to the top-edge, case is in very good condition with little evidence of sun-toning, upper joint slightly frayed, otherwise this is an overall very good set, complete and lightly handled; very good.
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