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Myra Breckinridge (1968)
By Gore Vidal
First Edition, First Printing
DESCRIPTION: 1968's Myra Breckinridge was not the first novel of celebrated intellectual Gore Vidal's career to openly depict homosexuals in a positive light -- that would be The City and the Pillar, from way back in the almost unbelievable 1948, right when his career was starting out -- but certainly this was the first book of his to cement his reputation as a gay icon and perpetual rabble-rouser, a hugely important work in the history of transsexual literature (even though much of what he says about the subject is now outdated), and an ode to '30s and '40s Hollywood camp published right in the same years that Susan Sontag was inventing the term "camp" to begin with. Dismissed as pornographic trash by many contemporary critics at the time, Vidal definitely grabs the horns of the countercultural era with both fists here, penning the story of a man in the middle of gender reassignment surgery who is now living as a flamboyant woman, obsessed with the Golden Age of Hollywood and who takes great delight in messing with the minds (and various bodily cavities) of the hunky young men at the fictional acting school owned by her uncle. (And the less said about the notorious 1971 trainwreck of a movie adaptation, the better.) Then in 1974, Vidal penned a sequel called Myron that is basically more of the same, although with an odd detail; that because of a recent anti-pornography decision by the Supreme Court, Vidal replaced all the curse words in the manuscript with the names of various court Justices. An inclusion in Harold Bloom's famous updating of the Western Canon, this two-book set is considered by many Vidal fans to be some of the best work of his career, and absolutely you cannot have a full understanding of this complex and multi-faceted artist without understanding this most notorious and outrageous side of him. Get these now while they're still fairly inexpensive, because their value is almost guaranteed to go up, as the history of queer literature becomes more and more of a mainstream subject in the future.
CONDITION: Text: Fine (F) for both. Nearly indistinguishable from how they appeared when brand-new. Dust jacket: Myron, Fine (F); Myra, Very Good Plus (VG+). Nearly indistinguishable from how they appeared when brand-new, although with the older book showing just the smallest signs of its age along the edges. Both jackets now protected by Demco mylar sheets. Both books have stated "First Edition" on copyright pages; lack of additional printing notices makes these first printings as well.
PROVENANCE: Myra: Acquired by CCLaP at the 2012 Chicago Antiquarian Booksellers Fair. Myron: Acquired by CCLaP in 2013 at the Bella Luna going-out-of-business sale.