Go Tell It on the Mountain
Hard Cover. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1953. First Edition. Near Fine / Dust Jacket Included.
First edition, first printing. Publisher's rust cloth, titles in gilt to spine, facsimile Baldwin signature in gilt to front board; in the original pictorial dust jacket designed by John O'Hara Cosgrave II, with an illustration to the front panel and spine of pedestrians walking from a Baptist Church on a city sidewalk, photo of Baldwin taken by William Cole to rear jacket flap. About fine, with a touch of soiling to top edge, and a hint of offsetting to endpapers; unclipped dust jacket with a bit of edgewear, lightly faded spine, and minor tape reinforcement to jacket verso. Overall, an exceptional copy in a vibrant dust jacket. Housed in a red custom folding box, and a red slipcase with black label to spine, lettered in gilt. Go Tell It on the Mountain is a semi-autobiographical novel that is laden with Biblical allusions and religious imagery. It tells the story of John Grimes, a fourteen-year-old African American boy growing up in Harlem, who, like Baldwin, had a turbulent relationship with his minister stepfather. In addition to addressing the ghosts of his past, Baldwin uses Biblical metaphors to address the African American experience, specifically paying attention to the role of the Christian Church in disenfranchised African American communities. Notably, Baldwin later said that this novel, which took him nearly a decade to complete, was "the book I had to write if I was ever going to write anything else."