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Appointment in Samarra by John O'Hara - Hardcover - Signed - 1934 - from Appledore Books, ABAA (SKU: 14388)

Appointment in Samarra

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Appointment in Samarra

by John O'Hara

  • Used
  • hardcover
  • Signed
Very Good -
Seller rating:
This seller has earned a 2 of 5 Stars rating from Biblio customers.
Waccabuc, New York
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About This Item

New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1934. Cloth. Very Good -. WARMLY INSCRIBED BY JOHN O'HARA IN YEAR-OF-PUBLICATION (to New York decorator George Basso) on the front free endpaper. A solid copy to boot of the September 1934 stated 3rd printing. Tight and VG- in its dark cloth, with light fraying along the spine crown, the residue of one small label at the center of the spine and light scuffing/soiling to the rear panel. Octavo, O'Hara's very important first published book.


At the ripe age of twenty-eight, John O’Hara completed Appointment in Samarra, his first novel, in less than four months. At a similarly quick pace, the events of the book take place in a span of just three days. In this brief time, Appointment in Samarra tells of the increasingly impulsive and self-destructive acts that lead to the main character’s suicide. Julian English, once a high-ranking member of the community of Gibbsville, angers and alienates those close to him, resulting in the rapid decline of his social status. Specific explanations for Julian’s behavior are unclear in the text, though personal insecurities along with his alcoholism undoubtedly play a role. The small-town prejudices of Gibbsville (O’Hara’s fictionalized version of his hometown, Pottsville, Pennsylvania) greatly affect Julian’s demise as well. Omniscient narration works to expose these prejudices via the inner thoughts of various people in the town. The title, Appointment in Samarra, is a reference to W. Somerset Maugham's 1933 retelling of an old story in his play, Sheppey. In the story, which appears as an epigraph for the novel, Death speaks of meeting a merchant in Samarra, informing the reader from the beginning of the novel’s fatal ending. In his foreword to the 1952 reprint, O'Hara says that the working title for the novel was The Infernal Grove. It was not until fellow writer Dorothy Parker showed him the story in Maugham's play that he got the idea for the title Appointment in Samarra. Modern Library ranked Appointment in Samarra 22nd on its list of the “100 Best” English-language novels of the 20th century.

Read More: Identifying first editions of Appointment in Samarra


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Appledore Books, ABAA US (US)
Bookseller's Inventory #
Appointment in Samarra
John O'Hara
Book condition
Used - Very Good -
Harcourt, Brace and Company
Place of Publication
New York
Date Published
rare modern literature, rare John O'Hara, rare author first novels
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Terms of Sale

Appledore Books, ABAA

All books are offered subject to prior sale. Materials are returnable within 1 week of receipt provided prior notice is given.

About the Seller

Appledore Books, ABAA

Seller rating:
This seller has earned a 2 of 5 Stars rating from Biblio customers. member since 2005
Waccabuc, New York
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About Appledore Books, ABAA

Buy and sell - rare, unusual and antiquarian - art, photography, literature, scholarly, sports, childrens, bindings.


Some terminology that may be used in this description includes:

The outer portion of a book which covers the actual binding. The spine usually faces outward when a book is placed on a shelf.... [More]
Used to mean that the binding of a book has not been overly loosened by frequent use.
Another of the terms referring to page or book size, octavo refers to a standard printer's sheet folded four times, producing... [More]
"Cloth-bound" generally refers to a hardcover book with cloth covering the outside of the book covers. The cloth is stretched... [More]
When a book is described as being inscribed, it indicates that a short note written by the author or a previous owner has been... [More]

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