Hard Cover. New York: Random House, 1969. First Edition. Near Fine / Dust Jacket Included.
First edition, first printing. Original publisher's cloth, pictorial dust jacket. About fine in an unclipped dust jacket with a slight waviness to the front cover and the slightest touch of rubbing to the extremities, else fine. An exceptionally bright and attractive copy. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is Maya Angelou's first autobiographical work. Although it is a work of non-fiction, the text borrows literary devices from fiction, making the narrative lyrical and reminiscent of the author's vivid poetry. Angelou took the title from a poem by African American poet Paul Lawrence Dunbar, who, along with William Shakespeare, was one of the author's biggest creative inspirations. The image of a caged bird singing is evocative of young Angelou's struggle to find her voice, which, encouraged by her love of literature and strong principled character, allowed her to combat the racism and misogyny she encountered as a child. Though it was not her original intention, Angelou wrote six subsequent texts that, together with I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, comprise Angelou's complete autobiography. This volume is the first chronologically, covering Angelou's childhood through her early teenage years, during which time she endures the Great Depression and Jim Crow Segregation.