New Brunswick, New Jersey: Rutgers University Press, (1981). Single volume, measuring 9 x 6 inches: xv, , 256. Original blue and white pictorial wrappers. Signed by Toni Morrison and Joyce Carol Oates at their contributions.
First edition of this collection of critical essays, originally presented at the 1980 Conference of Literature and the Urban Experience at Rutgers University, signed by contributors Toni Morrison and Joyce Carol Oates. In “City Limits, Village Values: Concepts of the Neighborhood in Black Fiction,” Morrison contrasts the symbolic use of the city by writers like John Dos Passos, Ernest Hemingway, and John Cheever with its treatment by Black American writers: “the affection of Black writers (whenever displayed) for the city seems to be for the village within it: the neighborhoods and the population of those neighborhoods.” In “Imaginary Cities: America,” Oates juxtaposes the urban struggles documented by writers like Stephen Crane, Theodore Dreiser, and Anzia Yezierska with the conflicted subjectivity of Saul Bellow’s Chicago characters: “the struggle has become internalized, a ceaseless philosophical inquiry.” Fellow contributors include James Baldwin, Amiri Baraka, Bruno Bettelheim, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Alfred Kazin, Marge Piercy, Chaim Potok, and Stephen Spender, among others. A fascinating volume, in fine condition, signed by Toni Morrison and Joyce Carol Oates.