Hard Cover. Massachusetts: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1941. First Edition. Fine / Dust Jacket Included.
First edition, first printing. Inscribed by Wilson on front free endpaper: “To Robert Christie / with the best regards / of Edmund Wilson [underlined] / August 14, 1941 [underlined].” Publisher’s blue cloth with titles in darker blue; original red dust jacket with gray title boxes, titles in white and black. Fine; in an about fine unclipped dust jacket with just a hint of edgewear. Overall, a bright and fresh copy. The Wound and the Bow is a collection of essays by Wilson on seven major authors: Charles Dickens, Rudyard Kipling, Giacomo Casanova, Edith Wharton, Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce, and Sophocles. The title of the book refers to Philoctetes, a play by Sophocles in which the protagonist is ostracized for a horrific and foul-smelling injury, but later wins glory in Trojan War through the use of his charmed bow and arrow. This encapsulates the theme of many of the essays, which deal with the “relation between creative activity and psychological injury and maladjustment.” Wilson’s essay on Charles Dickens is particularly noteworthy, as it contributed profoundly to the modern understanding and appreciation of Dickens’ artistry.