New York: Farrar & Rinehart, 1936. Single volume, measuring 7.75 x 5.25 inches: , 281. Original beige cloth stamped in red and blue, top edge stained red, unclipped color-printed dust jacket supplied from another copy. Ink presentation inscription from Dawn Powell to Jacques LeClercq on front free endpaper. Light discoloration to cloth, faint spotting and edgewear to jacket with shallow chips to spine ends, dampstain to rear jacket panel.
First edition of Dawn Powell’s first satirical novel. Powell worked on Turn, Magic Wheel for years, writing in her diary: “I want this new novel to be delicate and cutting -- nothing will cut New York but a diamond.” The plot traces the shifting balance of power between an ambitious young writer and his middle-aged muse, the long-abandoned wife of a celebrity novelist based on Hemingway: “Losing her as a character under his control, Dennis was alarmed; now she was as baffling to him as himself, unpredictable, unanswerable.” This copy is inscribed to Powell’s lifelong friend, the French scholar and writer Jacques LeClercq: “To Jacques with prettiest sentiments / Dawn.” A noted translator of Rabelais and Dumas, as well as a number of modern French texts, LeClercq moved in Powell’s Greenwich Village circle, and appears frequently in her diaries over a period of forty years. From the estate of his daughter, polio-stricken prima ballerina Tanaquil LeClercq, final wife of George Balanchine. A very good presentation copy of Powell’s first major comic novel, with sharp psychological insight into the culture of modern literary celebrity.