Soft Cover. New York: Grove Press, 1959. First Edition. Near Fine.
First edition, first printing, Evergreen Book issue. Publisher's paper wrappers, lettered in red, gray, and white over black. Near fine, with light rubbing to spine and extremities, light stain to the bottom edge, date stamp inside the front wrapper. A handsome copy. Kerouac wrote Doctor Sax in 1952 while living with William S. Burroughs in Mexico City, but the novel was not published until 1959 after the success of On the Road (1957). It features the author's fictional alter-ego, Jack Duluoz, who represents a younger Kerouac and makes appearances in subsequent novels. Throughout the text, Kerouac mixes his childhood memories with his youthful fantasies, the two of which have become inextricably intertwined. The central fantasy centers on the mythical Great World Snake, a villainous, slumbering creature who is predicted to devour the whole world upon its awakening. Similarly, the fictional Doctor Sax, a dark yet friendly entity who is hallmarked by his black cape, black slouch hat, and eerie laughter, spends his days preparing a poison that will destroy the snake should it ever awake. Doctor Sax utilizes Kerouac's steam-of-consciousness writing style or "spontaneous prose" that he attempted to insert into On the Road and would later publish in Visions of Cody (1972). Although it was not critically successful, Kerouac maintained that Doctor Sax was "the greatest book I ever wrote, or that I will write." This first Evergreen Book soft cover edition was issued simultaneously with the first hard cover edition.