TROCCHI, Alexander

Young Adam

London: Heinemann, 1961

8vo, pp. 162. Original brown boards, lettered in gilt on spine. Top edge a little dusty, light spotting to leading and lower edge, otherwise a near fine copy in a very good dustwrapper, rear panel a little marked, spine ends worn with slight loss to head (not affecting text), and three small closed tears to top edge.

First UK edition, INSCRIBED BY TROCCHI'S COUSIN ON FRONT FREE ENDPAPER: 'With the compliments of the author's cousin. The Demon driver!!'.

Scottish novelist Alexander Trocchi [1925-1984] moved to Paris in the early 1950s, where he edited the literary magazine Merlin. Merlin flew the Existentialist flag, and numbered Sartre, Genet and Camus among its contributors. The magazine proved better at making reputations than money, however, and Trocchi was one of a group of impecunious writers recruited by Maurice Girodias to write pornography for the Olympia Press, an English-language, Paris-based imprint catering for the wide variety of sexual tastes to be found among the city's Anglophone residents and visitors. But Olympia also had a more respectable face -- it published the first edition of Lolita, as well as work by Beckett, Burroughs and J.P. Donleavy -- and Trocchi was keen to join its roster of writers. He supplied Girodias with two smutty potboilers written absolutely to the Olympia recipe, Helen and Desire and The Carnal Days Of Helen Seferis (both published under the 'Frances Lengel' pseudonym), and then submitted Young Adam, an altogether more literary work. Girodias didn't like it for precisely that reason. The novel, preoccupied with sex (good) and death (less good), unfolds in an allusive, elusive writerly style which Girodias knew would be a turn-off for Frances Lengel fans. He sent Trocchi away to rewrite Young Adam in the Olympia house style. Astonishingly Trocchi did, and the true first edition of Young Adam[Atlantic Library, 1954] is a sexed-up, dumbed-down version of the book which would go on to make Trocchi's name. This UK edition was the first to publish the text as it was originally written.

Keywords: Alexander TROCCHI"


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