New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1955. Octavo, original chartreuse cloth lettered in blue over blue paper boards, original unclipped pictorial dust jacket with Cecil Beaton portrait of McCarthy on the rear panel. Lightest edgewear to jacket.
First edition of critic Mary McCarthy’s fourth novel, a satirical look at midcentury intellectual and sexual politics in a Cape Cod artist’s colony, when a young couple uneasily settles in the town where the wife’s first husband still lives: “The essence of New Leeds was a kind of exaggeration. . . . There were three village idiots, grinning, in the post office; the average winter resident who settled here had three wives; there were eight young bohemians with beards, twenty-one town drunkards. In wife-beating, child neglect, divorce, automobile accidents, falls, suicide, the town was a sort of statistical rampage, like the highways on a holiday weekend.” A near-fine copy.