Hard Cover. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1934. 1st Edition. Near Fine / Dust Jacket Included.
First edition, first printing. One of 2,000 copies. Publisher's red-orange cloth, lettered in black, pictorial pale yellow floral endpapers; in the original yellow dust jacket, lettered in black and red-orange. Book about fine, with only a hint of wear to the extremities, else bright and clean; price-clipped dust jacket, with some wear and chipping to the extremities, minor toning to the spine, a hint of light soiling to the otherwise fresh panels. Overall, a near fine and very attractive copy of this extremely scarce title, very rare in the dust jacket. This first American edition of Burmese Days is the true first printing of Orwell's second work and first novel. Victor Gollancz initially rejected the controversial novel, but agreed to publish the first British edition in 1935 after the success of the American edition and making several edits to the text. Notably, Orwell would later call the Gollancz edition "garbled," and, when Penguin prepared its first edition in 1940, he insisted that the publishers use the American text rather than the English. An extremely scarce title in any condition, this copy of Burmese Days is especially rare because of its excellent condition and lack of any repairs or restoration. Based on Orwell's experiences serving in the Indian Imperial Police in Burma from 1922-1927, Burmese Days is set in colonial Burma that the publisher's tout as a "cynical, sometimes brutal answer to the Rudyard Kipling 'white man's burden' school of novelists - a caustic portrait of the white man in the East as he really is." Specifically, it tells the story of the conflicted timber merchant John Flory, who struggles to reconcile his belief in British superior with his appreciation of the Burmese people and culture. Interestingly, while English publishers Victor Gollancz, Jonathan Cape, and William Heinemann all declined to publish Burmese Days for fear of a libel suit from officers in the British colonies, American publisher Harper & Brothers flaunted the novel' controversial subject matter. Indeed, as the dust jacket boldly proclaims on the front panel, "If the prophet is unsung in his own country, the truth-teller also is rarely welcome in his home town."