1958, 1959. Item #4576
Les Américains. Paris: Robert Delpire, 1958. Oblong 4to, bound in laminated boards after a design
by Saul Steinberg. Association copy, from the library of Barney Rosset, with his rubberstamp to
fep. [with] The Americans. New York: Grove Press, 1959. Barney Rosset’s copy, with his ownership
signature and rubberstamp. Inscribed and signed to Rosset by Robert Frank: “Barney Rosset is a
good long lasting memory. Thanks…..”
The two books are housed in a custom clamshell case with printed titled label and silk bookmark
laid in. The books are accompanied by an ALS letter of provenance from Astrid Rosset stating that
these copies belonged to her late husband, and recording their sale.
The Americans was first published in Paris, no American publisher having the verve to take on
the project. Following the French publication, the publisher with the verve emerged - Barney
Rosset of Grove Press, already known as one of the most transgressive publishers around due to his
work in publishing Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer, and the ensuing successful battle against the
censorship of that work - one of the most influential events in the history of 20th century publishing
in America, which would have an incalculable influence on everything that happened since.
Les Américains is toned, with bumping to extremities, and dust-soiling to the edges of the text
block. The Americans is well battered, with the front hinge starting, the binding broken, and
some sections loosened, along with some faint rippling to endpapers and preliminary pages.
Unbelievably, the Americans is an ex-library copy from middle America. Perfect.
Both look very well read. Both are quite battered. It doesn’t matter. It is hard to imagine better
association copies. Sure, Kerouac probably had a copy inscribed to him, but his foreword is
overrated. In fact, Kerouac looked at these photographs and remained Goldwater Republican,
which means he really didn’t see these photographs at all.