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As I Lay Dying. by  William Faulkner - First Edition - 1939 - from Raptis Rare Books (SKU: 115342)

As I Lay Dying.

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As I Lay Dying.

by Faulkner, William

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  • hardcover
  • First
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About This Item

New York: Jonathan Cape and Harrison Smith, 1939. First edition, first issue, one of 750 copies with dropped "I" on p. 11 and in the first state binding with lettering unbroken of this work, which consistently ranks as one of the greatest works of twentieth century literature. Octavo, original cloth. Near fine in a near fine dust jacket with light shelfwear. An exceptional example. Faulkner had stated to have written As I Lay Dying in six weeks with no revisions, and its stream-of-consciousness style suggests such an immersive spontaneity. "I set out deliberately to write a tour-de-force. Before I ever put pen to paper and set down the first word I knew what the last word would be and almost where the last period would fall" (William Faulkner on As I Lay Dying). "No man ever put more of his heart and soul into the written word than did William Faulkner. If you want to know all you can about that heart and soul, the fiction where he put it is still right there" (Eudora Welty). Listed by Modern Library as one of the 100 greatest novels of the twentieth century. It is the basis for the 2013 film bearing the same name directed and co-written by and starring James Franco.


William Faulkner claimed to have written As I Lay Dying, his fifth novel, in just six weeks — with very little revision — while working at power plant in 1929. While this sounds impressive in and of itself, also consider the fact that this novel has 15 different narrators throughout its 59 chapters and has consistently been recognized as one of the greatest works of the American literature. As I Lay Dying is the first book in which Faulkner introduces Yoknapatawpha County, a fictional rendition of his native Lafayette County, Mississippi, which became the setting for some of his best-known works. The author’s self-described “tour de force” follows the death of Addie Bundren and her family’s various notions regarding her burial requests and their journey to Jefferson, in the heart of the county, to fulfill them. Poverty, bad weather, injury, and pregnancy are just some of the hindrances faced along the way. Fittingly, the title of the novel comes from a line in Homer’s The Odyssey: “As I lay dying, the woman with the dog's eyes would not close my eyes as I descended into Hades.” Along with The Sound and the Fury, As I Lay Dying helped to secured Faulkner’s stance as a pioneer of the stream-of-consciousness technique, joining the ranks with James Joyce and Virginia Woolf. In vernacular that echoes Mark Twain, the characters of the novel are able to develop gradually through the perceptions of others. Though this requires readers to take an active part in constructing the story, it also allows for multiple, and sometimes, conflicting interpretations. Faulkner was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1949 for his novels prior to that date, which includes As I Lay Dying. The novel has also directly influenced a number of other critically acclaimed books, including Graham Swift’s Booker prize-winning novel Last Orders and Suzan-Lori Parks’ Getting Mother’s Body, an African-American retelling of the story. As I Lay Dying is ranked 35th on Modern Library’s “100 Best” English-language novels of the 20th century and 55th on The Guardian’s list of the 100 best novels. The Grammy-nominated metalcore band As I Lay Dying derived its name from this book as well. In 2014, writer/director James Franco released a film adaptation of the novel.

Read more: Identifying first editions of As I Lay Dying.


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Raptis Rare Books US (US)
Bookseller Inventory #
As I Lay Dying.
Faulkner, William
Book condition
Jonathan Cape and Harrison Smith
Place of Publication
New York
Date published
As I lay Dying First Edition, As I lay dying William Falkner First Edition, As I Lay Dying William Faulkner First Edition, William Faulkner first edition
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Raptis Rare Books

Seller rating:
This seller has earned a 5 of 5 Stars rating from Biblio customers. member since: 2012
Palm Beach, Florida
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About Raptis Rare Books

Founded by Matthew Raptis, Raptis Rare Books is an antiquarian book firm that specializes in literature, children's books, economics, photo books, signed and inscribed books, and landmark books in all fields. Our business model is simple: we strive to handle books that are in exceptional condition and to provide exceptional customer service. We are proud members of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America (ABAA) and the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers (ILAB) and exhibit at major book fairs in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Boston, as well as other regional fairs.


Some terminology that may be used in this description includes:

A book in fine condition exhibits no flaws. A fine condition book closely approaches As New condition, but may lack the...[more]
Another of the terms referring to page or book size, octavo refers to a standard printer's sheet folded four times, producing...[more]
Sometimes used as another term for dust jacket, a protective and often decorative wrapper, usually made of paper which wraps...[more]
Minor wear resulting from a book being place on, and taken from a bookshelf, especially along the bottom edge.
"Cloth-bound" generally refers to a hardcover book with cloth covering the outside of the book covers. The cloth is stretched...[more]
First Edition
In book collecting, the first edition is the earliest published form of a book. A book may have more than one first edition in...[more]
first state
used in book collecting to refer to a book from the earliest run of a first edition, generally distinguished by a change in some...[more]

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