New York: George H. Doran Company, 1923. Single volume, measuring 7.5 x 5.25 inches: 302, . Original three-quarter red cloth, marbled boards, text block untrimmed. Woodcut vignettes throughout text. Ink presentation inscription to front free endpaper: “Sinclair Lewis / from Elinor Wylie / November 1923.” General shelfwear, a few splashmarks to boards and opening pages, expert repair to hinges. Lacking dust jacket. With: two typed letters, dated June 1942, from bookseller George Goodspeed offering this copy for sale, along with Goodspeed’s typed catalog card for the book.
First edition of poet Elinor Wylie’s fantastic Orientalist romance, her first novel, inscribed to Sinclair Lewis. The narrative follows an indolent English bride’s travels across the East through a comic pastiche of eighteenth-century fictional clichés: “a Supreme Councillor returning to Bengal once had the audacity to send a glass of champagne and a magnificent pineapple to her cabin, with his respectful queries as to her welfare; only this personage’s obvious senility prevented Gerald from giving him a glance over the card-table which would have curdled his blood forever against the most torrid suns of India.” This copy of Jennifer Lorn was presented in the month of publication to Wylie’s friend and mentor Sinclair Lewis, “who persuaded her that writing fiction was the way to earn money.” The novel received bewildered but respectful reviews from contemporary critics. Lewis himself approved of her first effort: “At last, a civilized American novel.” See E.H. Hively’s introduction to Selected Works of Elinor Wylie (2005). BAL 23495: first printing, issue B, with cancel title page (as usual). A terrific association copy.