Book Acquired Recently: Willie Masters’ Lonesome Wife, First Edition

Gass, William H. Willie Masters’ Lonesome Wife. TriQuarterly Supplement Number Two (1968): n.p.

I recently bought and read the Dalkey Archive Press edition of Gass’s novella (the only one currently in print), but it does not replicated the colored pages of the original edition, so I was happy to find this copy for a reasonable price–$30.00–from one of amazon.com’s independent sellers.

It is a beautiful piece of printing craftsmanship. There are four sections: blue, yellow, red, and white, with the first three printed on something akin to construction paper and the last printed on glossy paper like the entirety of the current edition. The book does not have page numbers, but as can be seen in the photographs below, the pages are visually different from one another to the point where it would be fairly easy to describe which page one was referencing in scholarship on the novella.

Here are some photographs of this fascinating object:

The front cover--only $1.50!
The front cover–only $1.50!
A view of the book with the different-colored sections visible.
A view of the book with the different-colored sections visible.
The beginning of the blue section.
The beginning of the blue section.
Some visual playfulness from the yellow section.
Some visual playfulness from the yellow section.
The end of the red section and the beginning of the white section.
The end of the red section and the beginning of the white section.

Published by danielshankcruz

I grew up in New York City and lived in Lancaster, Pennsylvania; Goshen, Indiana; DeKalb, Illinois; and Salt Lake City, Utah before coming to Utica, New York. My mother’s family is Swiss-German Mennonite (i.e., it’s an ethnicity, not necessarily a theological persuasion) and my father’s family is Puerto Rican. I have a Ph.D. in English and currently teach at Utica College. I have also taught at Northern Illinois University and Westminster College in Salt Lake City. My teaching and scholarship are motivated by a passion for social justice, which is why my research focuses on the literature of oppressed groups, especially LGBT persons and people of color. While I primarily read and write about fiction, I am also a devoted reader of poetry because, as William Carlos Williams writes, “It is difficult / to get the news from poems / yet [people] die miserably every day / for lack / of what is found there.” Thinkers who influence me include Marina Abramovic, Kathy Acker, Di Brandt, Ana Castillo, Samuel R. Delany, Percival Everett, Essex Hemphill, Jane Jacobs, Walt Whitman, and the New York School of poets. I am also fond of queer Mennonite writers such as Stephen Beachy, Jan Guenther Braun, Lynnette Dueck/D’anna, and Casey Plett. In my free time I’m either reading, writing the occasional poem, playing board games (especially Scrabble, backgammon, and chess), watching sports (Let’s Go, Mets!), or cooking (curries, stews, roasts…).

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