03 April 2007

All the King's Men.Robert Penn Warren, 1946.

Robert Penn Warren. ALL THE KING'S MEN. Harcourt, Brace, NY 1946.

Current Selling Prices
$2500+ / £1300+

Novel by a poet loosely based on life of demagogue Huey "Kingfish" Long of Louisiana. Started out an idealist from the back country, rose rapidly, became corrupt, ended badly. RPW won a Pulitzer for it in 1947, it was filmed to some acclaim with bulky Broderick Crawford as the governor - here called Willie Stark. D/w must have a statement from Sinclair Lewis to be right, it was removed from all reprints.

VALUE? A book that is possibly in a gentle descendant price - wise but still hard to find a decent one wearing a smart jacket for less than $2 to $3K. Political novels tend to date but after 60 years this has the status of a minor classic. A 2006 movie didn't help its fortunes, despite starring Sean Penn - it appeared in Rolling Stone's 10 Worst Movies of the year with the byline 'dull as dog shit.' Also in the movie Jude Law, Kate Winslet and Mark Ruffalo (pictured left).

Ahearn rated it at $6000 in 2001 - only signed association copies can now scale such a price. The signed 2 vol LEC edition from 1989, gets about $500 - $600. It is illustrated with ten photogravures by Hank O'Neal made from the original negatives by Jon Goodman. Being a totally Americanocentric work no one really cares about the UK Eyre and Spottiswoode 1948 first. There is even a point on it (jacket must be blue and white) but a sharp copy is worth about a tenth of the USA ed. Penn Warren did a book with lenser Walker Evans in 1971 'Portfolio' in 100 signed copies that goes for $30000 - that's the one you want. [ W/Q ** ]

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