Very Good+ in Very Good dust jacket
First Edition; First Printing
St. Martin's Press
0312597835 / 9780312597832
Signed by Author
Autograph; 271 pages; Publisher's cloth-backed boards. The first trade edition. This copy is boldly signed by the author on the front free endpaper. In addition, there is a presentation inscription on the following blank: "For Kay, / admiringly, with / much thought, / [signed] Jerzy / August 1979." Above this inscription, Kosinski has drawn a self caracature in ink. The recipient was Katharine Graham [1917-2001], Publisher, and later, Chairman of the Board and CEO of the Washington Post Company. There is a tiny pair of holes in the front free endpaper, evidently from the removal of a staple. Also, there is a single page note to Mrs. Graham inserted between the rear endpapers, thanking her for the loan of this copy. This has a paperclip attached, which has left a tiny mark on the rear free endpaper. The Washington Post published a favorable review, which is quoted on the rear flap of the dust jacket: "A skillful, full-blooded, fascinating story teller; an original, authentic, unique voice." As it happend, accusations were about to fly throughout literary circles which made this blurb ironic. In June 1982, a Village Voice report by Geoffrey Stokes and Eliot Fremont-Smith accused Kosinski of plagiarism, claiming that much of his work was derivative of prewar books unfamiliar to English readers, and that Being There was a plagiarism of Kariera Nikodema Dyzmy — The Career of Nicodemus Dyzma — a 1932 Polish bestseller by Tadeusz Doega-Mostowicz. They also alleged Kosinski wrote The Painted Bird in Polish, and had it secretly translated into English. The report claimed that Kosinski's books had actually been ghost-written by "assistant editors", finding stylistic differences among Kosinski's novels. Kosinski, according to them, had depended upon his free-lance editors for "the sort of composition that we usually call writing." [This paragraph lifted verbatim from Wikipedia, by the way...] Kosinski had defenders, of course. And he made the case that the Painted Bird was a work of fiction, and the temptation to identify his own life with the strange tale presented of the boy wandering through Europe should be resisted. This novel, Passion Play, is another matter. The author encouraged and asserted his identity with the narrator: "The character, Fabian, is at the mercy of his aging and his sexual obsession. It's my calling card. I'm 46. I'm like Fabian." The charges must have been corrosive to Kosinski's sense of himself as a writer, especially considering that he had been a President of PEN. His health failing, Kosinski committed suicide on May 3, 1991, by wrapping a plastic bag around his head and suffocating to death. His suicide note read: "I am going to put myself to sleep now for a bit longer than usual. Call it Eternity." The dust jacket is unclipped, but shows some handling, and there is wear and tiny tears along the edges. ; Signed by Author; Experience the pleasure of reading and appreciating this actual printed item. It has its own physical history that imbues it with a character lacking in ephemeral electronic renderings.
Writer's drawing Katharine Graham Polo