Steven Moore's and Mary McCarthy's copy

Locos. A Comedy of Gestures.

New York: Farrar & Rinehart, Inc, 1936.

Price: $750.00

About the item

First edition, signed and numbered by the author and limited to 1250 copies. 307 pp. 8vo. Steven Moore's and Mary McCarthy's copy. Red publisher's cloth with some rubbing to top corners and head and foot of spine, near fine with book plate on pastedown. With TLS from Steven Moore to McCarthy, folded and rumpled, but very good.

Item #333025

With a letter from Steven Moore enclosing this, his personal copy, to her with a copy of her 1936 "Discovery" review of the book in the Nation. Also laid-in is a 12mo note sheet with six lines of notes in McCarthy's hand.

In her original review, she called Locos "bright, eccentric...a witty, fantastic novel of modern Spain, a novel of forms and suraces, demanding comparison not with literature but with art...related to the baroque tradition of architecture. More intimately and specifically it was concerned with the surréaliste movement in painting." (The Nation, June 27, 1936)

But for its small bit of critical success, the reception of Locos dispirited its author so much that he stopped writing (or wrote without hope of publication) for decades and took refuge as a bank translator. Steven Moore's Dalkey Archive Press republished the novel in 1988. At the point of writing his letter it is still in galleys, so he encloses his own copy of the original. McCarthy, in her published afterward for the book, says she was attracted her to the book was "the modernist novel as detective story," comparing it to Nabokov's Pale Fire. Later commentators have compared it to the work of Pirandello, Borges, Flann O'Brien, and Calvino.

As to his rediscovery, he said "It would have interested me much more when I was younger . . . .The whole thing is too late." (Adams, Jill. Felipe Alfau: A Retrospective. The Barcelona Review, 1999).