Sontag, Susan. THE BENEFACTOR. London, England: Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1964. Hardcover. First Edition/First Printing. 274 pages. Fine/Fine.

The author's debut novel. Now considered a late-modern classic. The first appearance of the title in the United Kingdom. Precedes and should not be confused with all other subsequent editions. Published in a tiny first print run as a hardcover original only. There is no ISBN. The First Edition is now scarce. Presents Susan Sontag's "The Benefactor". Her astonishing, tour-de-force breakthrough. A little-known fact about the novel and its author: Set in France, it is a roman a clef on Antonin Artaud and Jean Genet, two of Sontag's formative influences as a writer, while its fully-realized protagonist, Hippolyte, is inspired by the real-life Rimbaud. It is also not entirely clear if Artaud and Genet ever met (although it was possible; neither one could ever have met Rimbaud, their great precursor and the founder of Modernism). Her subject is the overlap and difference between insanity (Artaud) and eccentricity (Genet), both of which are genuine sources of creative genius, particularly of the modern, Romantic kind. In a rare example of book jacket graphic design, the DJ art by Nicholas Jenkins vividly captures this divide. As such, it is written in the Continental picaresque manner, with vividly evoked, dream-like sequences that many critics, Hannah Arendt notably among them, found compelling. Sontag's ability to turn fantasies and dreams into a coherent narrative remains the novel's singular achievement. "The issue of my sanity cannot easily be dismissed. But after long consideration of the matter, I hold I was not insane. Call it eccentricity if you like. But the eccentric has made a choice which the insane person has not" (Susan Sontag). An absolute "must-have" title for Susan Sontag collectors. This title is a late-modern classic. This is one of very few copies of the First British Edition/First Printing still available online and is in especially fine condition: Clean, crisp, and bright, a beauty. Please note: Most copies, particularly of the American Edition, available online have serious flaws, understandable enough for a book that was published more than fifty years ago, unless a copy was kept in storage, as this one, unread and showing no use at all, seems to have been. This is surely an accessible and lovely alternative. A rare copy thus. Winner of the MacArthur Genius Grant, the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1977 for "On Photography", the National Book Award in 2000 for "In America", and the Jerusalem Prize in 2001. Shimon Peres, in awarding the Jerusalem Prize, described Sontag as "one of the world's finest writers and greatest minds". One of the most influential and important American writer-intellectuals of the 20th century. A fine copy. (SEE ALSO OTHER SUSAN SONTAG TITLES IN OUR CATALOG). ISBN 038526710X. $70.00

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