Lot 1 of 175:
Facsimile Edition of Desert Solitaire Typed Manuscript  

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Lot closed - Sold For (Includes Buyers Premium):$270
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Facsimile Edition of Desert Solitaire Typed Manuscript

Abbey, Edward

Moab, UT

Back of Beyond Books



Facsimile of the first manuscript draft of Desert Solitaire, unbound and housed in a beautiful cloth clamshell box and "Desert Solitaire - Revisited," an essay written by Doug Peacock is laid in. Facsimile Edition, limited to 50 numbered copies available to the trade, and 10 copies Hors de Commerce. This copy is one of ten publisher copies, not numbered.

The first manuscript draft of Desert Solitaire totals 262 pages, all content is on recto and printed on 80# Smooth Text Pacesetter Opaque Digital paper by AMP Printing + Graphics; the cloth clamshell box was designed by David Jenny Design and completed by Roswell Bookbinding; Doug Peacock's essay was written for the publication of the French edition of Desert Solitaire.

Since its inception Back of Beyond Books has always had a strong connection with Edward Abbey and Desert Solitaire. The genesis of Back of Beyond Books grew from a conversation at Ed Abbey’s memorial in May of 1989 in which an idea arose to create a bookstore to honor him and the desert he loved. The bookstore opened its doors in February of 1990 and the name was drawn from Abbey’s The Monkey Wrench Gang. At the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of Desert Solitaire it seemed only right that we should honor the book that has inspired generations. The publication of this facsimile came about through the hard work of many, but especially the University of Arizona Special Collections and Clarke Abbey. Through the manuscript notes that cover the pages of the first draft we can paint a vivid picture of Ed Abbey as he began the writing process. We add to that by providing an excerpt from the University of Arizona Press edition of Desert Solitaire which provides the setting in which Abbey began writing Desert Solitaire: "I found a job as a schoolbus driver in Death Valley. This job took four hours of my day five days a week - two in the morning, two in the afternoon. During the middle of the day I sat my parked bus in the shade of a giant cottonwood in Ash Meadows, Nevada…the hours passed in luxurious idleness but after a time I began to scratch my head, pondering what my hero Charles Ives called The Unanswered Question. What am I doing with my life? Nothing. What is the significance of existence? Who knows. Where do we come from and where are we going? Who cares. That night I rummaged through my trunk, dug out my old notebooks and journals, and transcribed by typewriter the entries I had made during those two seamless perfect seasons in Arches, among the hoodoo rocks and voodoo silence of the Utah wilderness…we mailed the manuscript, Book Rate, to my agent in New York and in January 1968, on a dark night in the dead of winter, Desert Solitaire was published." Fifty years later, Back of Beyond Books is honored to present this Facsimile Edition in celebration of his desert masterpiece. 

Donated by Back of Beyond Books, Moab, UT.

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