Native Son

By Wright, Richard

Richard Wright’s Native Son tells the story of 20-year-old Bigger Thomas, a black American youth living in utter poverty in Chicago's South Side during the 1930s. When Bigger unintentionally murders a white woman, he is put on trial and eventually convicted, and sentenced to the electric chair. Often recognized as a protest novel, Native Son stresses systemic racial issues, prompting the reader to feel both sympathy and empathy for Bigger. In this, the novel is one of the earliest successful attempts to explain the racial divide in America in terms of the conditions imposed on African-Americans by the dominant white society.

Soon after publication, Native Son was selected by the Book of the Month Club as its first book by an African-American author. Indeed, the novel was an immediate best seller, selling 250,000 hardcover copies within three weeks of its publication. As a result of the novel’s success, Wright became the first bestselling and the wealthiest black writer of his time, establishing him as a spokesperson for African-American issues and, to many, the “father of Black American literature.” In 1941, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People awarded Wright awarded the prestigious Spingarn Medal.

Unsurprisingly, Native Son was challenged in many public schools and libraries and is listed in the American Library Association's list of the “Most Frequently Challenged Books of 1990–1999.” Yet most institutions in which the novel was challenged successfully fought to keep Wright's work accessible, particularly in the classroom, defending it as a guide into the reality of the complex adult and social world.

 

Native son is listed as 20th on the Modern Library’s list of the “100 Best” English-language novels of the 20th century. It is also included in TIME’s “100 Best Novels” (since 1923).

First Edition Identification and Notes

Harper & Brothers first published Native Son in 1940. With a dark blue cover stamped in red and white, first editions state “First Edition” on the copyright page with "A - P" below the statement. The dust jacket of the first edition is green and yellow and states the original price of  $2.50.

Other Collectible or Notable Editions

In 1991, the Library of American published Native Son in its original entirety. This edition contains an introduction, a chronology, and notes by Arnold Rampersad, a well-regarded scholar of African-American literary works, as well as Wright's 1940 essay “How ‘Bigger’ Was Born.”

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Available copies

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Native Son

by Wright, Richard

Seller
Quintessential Rare Books, LLC
Published
1940
Condition
Fine
Edition
1st Edition
Item Price
$5,000.00

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Description:
Harper and Brothers publishers, New York, 1940 First Edition, First Printing with the words "First Edition" printed on the copyright page with "A - P" below the First Edition statement. This copy is SIGNED by Richard Wright on a laid in signature. A wonderful copy. This First issue dustjacket is rich in color with slight fading to the spine. This… Read more
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$5,000.00
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Native Son

by Wright, Richard

Seller
Quintessential Rare Books, LLC
Published
1940
Condition
Fine
Edition
1st Edition
Item Price
$3,500.00

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Description:
Harper & Brothers, New York, 1940 First Edition, First Printing. This First issue dustjacket is vibrant in color and has the $2.50 printed price present on the front flap. This ORIGINAL dustjacket has minor wear to the spine and edges. The book is in great shape. The binding is tight with slight wear to the edges. The pages are clean… Read more
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$3,500.00
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Native Son

by Wright, Richard

Seller
Burnside Rare Books, ABAA
Published
1940
Condition
Fine
Edition
First Edition
Item Price
$3,500.00

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Description:
New York: Harper & Brothers, 1940. First Edition. Fine/Very Good. First edition, first printing. Bound in publisher's dark blue cloth with titles blocked in red and off-white. Pages toned, previous owner name to front paste down and foxing to endsheets, still Fine. In a Very Good unclipped first issue dust jacket a bit edge-worn and soiled. An African-American… Read more
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$3,500.00
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Native Son

by Wright, Richard

Seller
civilizingbooks
Published
1940
Condition
Near Fine
Edition
1st edition
Item Price
$2,750.00

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Description:
Harper & Brothers, NY, 1940. 1st edition. hardcover. Near Fine/Near Fine. Wright received a Guggenheim Fellowship to complete this novel, an immediate best seller and portrayal of Black youth in the US. The publishers (Harpers) issued the book in one dust jacket and turned around, quickly it appears, and issued this stated first edition in the more important… Read more
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$2,750.00
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Native Son

by Wright, Richard

Seller
Whitmore Rare Books
Published
1940
Condition
Near Fine
Edition
First edition
Item Price
$2,500.00

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Description:
New York: Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1940. First edition. Near Fine/Near Fine. A Near Fine copy in like dust jacket. Book a trifle cocked, jacket with a small chip missing from the front flap fold and a few small stains on the spine. First issue binding in dark blue cloth, with a date of 1940 on the title… Read more
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NATIVE SON

by Wright, Richard

Seller
Book Bazaar
Published
1940
Condition
VG-
Edition
1st Edition
Item Price
$1,725.00

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Description:
New York: The Modern Library, 1940. Short inscription written and signed by author, on dedication page, after copyright page. 394 pages. Grey and white patterned endpapers. Previous owner's name on ffep. Grey cloth with gilt titles on black area on front and spine. Binding has several marks, book is tight; pages clean and white. DJ has… Read more
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$1,725.00
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Native Son

by Wright, Richard

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Carpetbagger Books, IOBA
Published
1940
Condition
Very Good
Edition
First Edition
Item Price
$1,620.00

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Description:
New York: Harper and Brothers, 1940. First Edition. Hardcover. Very Good/Good. Very Good in a Good first-issue jacket, unclipped ($2.50), faded at the spine, small chips to the corners and edges, tidemark on the back panel. Blue buckram with white and red ink panels and lettering on the spine and front board, faint discoloration on the back panel… Read more
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Native Son.

by Wright, Richard

Seller
Raptis Rare Books
Published
1940
Item Price
$1,500.00

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Description:
New York: Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1940. First edition, first issue binding with "A - P" on the copyright page. Octavo, bound in full morocco, gilt titles to the spine, raised bands, gilt ruled to the front and rear panels, raised bands, all edges gilt, marbled endpapers. In fine condition. An exceptional presentation. Richard Wright's ground-breaking novel Native Son… Read more
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$1,500.00
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NATIVE SON

by Wright, Richard

Seller
Circle City Books
Published
1940
Condition
Near Fine in Very Good dust jacket
Edition
First Edition; First Printing
Item Price
$1,500.00

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New York: Harper & Brothers Publishers. Near Fine in Very Good dust jacket. 1940. First Edition; First Printing. Hardcover. 8vo; 359 pages; 1st state of the book and dust jacket. It is not price clipped. Dust jacket shows some rubbing, light wear and very minor chipping to extremities. See pictures. .
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Native Son.

by WRIGHT, Richard.

Seller
Jeffrey H. Marks Rare Books
Published
1940.
Condition
Small owner's embossed name in upper corner of title page; some scattered light foxing in a good to very good jacket with a
Edition
First edition; first binding, in the first dust jacket.
Item Price
$850.00

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New York:: Harper & Brothers,, 1940.. First edition; first binding, in the first dust jacket.. original cloth.. Small owner's embossed name in upper corner of title page; some scattered light foxing in a good to very good jacket with a vertical tear from top to bottom on the rear panel which has been neatly mended, and some minor edgewear..… Read more
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$850.00
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Native Son

by WRIGHT, Richard

Seller
St Philip's Books
Published
1940
Condition
Good
Edition
1st ed 1st imp
Item Price
£686.60

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Victor Gollancz, 1940. ~Dustwrapper very scarce. Text browned. Dustwrapper faded & edgeworn with old brown paper repairs to rear & small tears to rear spine edge, but unclipped & protected in removable clear plastic sleeve. Original blue cloth, faded on spine. No ownership marks. Hinges uncracked but slightly slack. ~Robust packaging.. 1st ed 1st imp. Hardback. Good/Good. 459pp. Spine leans… Read more
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£686.60
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Native Son

by Richard Wright

Seller
mclinhavenbooks
Published
1940
Condition
Very Good
Edition
1st Edition
Item Price
$550.00

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Description:
New York: Harper and Brothers, 1940. 1st Edition. Hardcover. Very Good/Very Good. 8vo - over 7¾ - 9¾" tall. 1st Printing 1 Copyright date 1940, first edition, first printing. Original gray cloth with black and gold spine panel, top edge stained grey; yellow and light green jacket. First Edition, second issue jacket. The book that helped Wright to… Read more
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$550.00
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Native Son

by Wright, Richard

Seller
Bookbid Rare Books
Published
1940
Condition
Near fine.
Edition
First
Item Price
$500.00

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Description:
New York: Harpers, 1940. First. hardcover. Near fine.. First edition (stated on the copyright page) in the true first edition binding (blue cloth, labeled in white and red). Near fine. No dust jacket.
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$500.00
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Native Son

by Wright, Richard

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OLDPRINTBOOKS
Edition
1st Edition
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$480.00

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1st Edition. Hardcover. Dust Jacket Included. 1940 very rare original stated first edition blue cloth hardcover(TRUE FIRST EDITION) & original even more rare very good UNCLIPPED jacket protected in Mylar jacket- ONE OF A KIND COLLECTIBLE HITS
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$480.00
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Native Son

by Wright, Richard

Seller
Bookbid Rare Books
Published
1940
Condition
Fine
Edition
1st Edition
Item Price
$450.00

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NY: Harper, 1940, 1940. 1st Edition. Hardcover. Fine/Dust Jacket Included. Published in New York by Harper & Brothers in 1940. First Edition is stated on copyright page. Book near fine except for slight wearing on spine ends and corners, fading and discoloration (spotting) on paste downs, free end pages, and randomly throughout inside pages. DJ (facsimile) fine. DJ… Read more
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$450.00
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Native Son

by Richard Wright

Seller
Books Express
Published
2005-09-09
Condition
New
ISBN
9781199859488
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$430.65

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2005-09-09. New. Ships with Tracking Number! INTERNATIONAL WORLDWIDE Shipping available. May be re-issue. Buy with confidence, excellent customer service!
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Native Son

by Richard Wright

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Books Express
Published
2000-06-01
Condition
Good
ISBN
9780848825775
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$413.65

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2000-06-01. Good. Ships with Tracking Number! INTERNATIONAL WORLDWIDE Shipping available. May not contain Access Codes or Supplements. May be re-issue. May be ex-library. Shipping & Handling by region. Buy with confidence, excellent customer service!
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$413.65
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Native Son

by WRIGHT, RICHARD

Seller
S.E. Murphy Rare Books
Published
1940
Condition
Fine
Edition
First Edition
Item Price
$350.00

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Description:
New York: Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1940. First Edition. Hardcover. Fine/Very good. 8vo. Stated first edition with A-P on title page. Bound in publisher's grey cloth with gold lettering to the spine. Second issue dust jacket with minor chipping to bottom of spine. A fine copy of this rare book. Wright received a Guggenheim Fellowship to complete his… Read more
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$350.00
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Native Son

by Richard Wright

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mclinhavenbooks
Published
1940
Condition
Very Good
Edition
1st Edition
Item Price
$340.00

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New York: Hubbard Brothers, 1940. 1st Edition. Hardcover. Very Good/No Jacket. 8vo - over 7¾ - 9¾" tall. 1st Printing 1 Copyright date is 1940. xi+359, top edge tinted grey. The book is stated as a first edition with the letters A-P notated under the words "first edition". The binding is on boards covered with dark grey cloth… Read more
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$340.00
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Native Son

by Richard Wright

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mclinhavenbooks
Published
1940
Condition
Very Good
Edition
1st Edition
Item Price
$320.00

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USA: Harper Brothers, 1940. 1st Edition. Hardcover. Very Good/Very Good. 8vo - over 7¾ - 9¾" tall. 1st Printing 1 Copyright date 1940, first edition, light blue cloth over boards with guilt lettering and design on the spine. Some light wear to the spine area, previous owners name written on the inside front flyleaf. Top page edges gilt… Read more
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$320.00
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Native Son

by Richard Wright

Seller
Oshtemo Book Sellers
Published
1940
Condition
Very Good
Edition
1st Edition
Item Price
$295.00

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Description:
New York: Harper and Brothers Publishing, 1940. 1st Edition . Hardcover. Very Good/Very Good. 8vo - over 7¾ - 9¾" tall. Wright's classic story of life in the "most segregated city in America" Chicago, in the early 20th century. Book has gray cover and in very good + condition, except for the black and gold printing on… Read more
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$295.00
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Native Son

by WRIGHT, Richard

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Between the Covers- Rare Books, Inc. ABAA
Published
1960
Condition
Very Good
Item Price
$275.00

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Description:
Sydney: Angus and Robertson, 1960. Hardcover. Very Good/Very Good. First Australian edition. Foxing on the page edges, a very good or better copy of a cheaply manufactured in attractive, very good or better dustwrapper with several professionally internally repaired tears and irregular sunning at the spine. Along with Ellison's *Invisible Man* and *Baldwin's Go Tell It On the… Read more
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$275.00
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NATIVE SON

by Richard Wright

Seller
Rare Book Cellar
Published
1940
Edition
First Edition; First Printing
Item Price
$274.95

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Description:
New York: Harper & Brothers. 1940. First Edition; First Printing. Hardcover. Very Good- in boards. A few stains to boards. A few markings to front pastedown and FEP. Stated First Edition, with publisher's code "A-P". ; ; 8vo 8" - 9" tall; Original binding. All domestic orders shipped protected in a Box. .
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$274.95
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Native Son

by WRIGHT, Richard

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Between the Covers- Rare Books, Inc. ABAA
Published
1960
Condition
Very Good
Item Price
$250.00

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Sydney: Angus and Robertson, 1960. Hardcover. Very Good/Good. First Australian edition. Very good with cocked spine, owner's bookplate, owner's signature, and foxing to endpapers and page edges in good dustwrapper with long tears and tape repairs to spine, age-toning to back panel, but a bright, lovely front panel. Along with Ellison's *Invisible Man* and *Baldwin's Go Tell It… Read more
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$250.00
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Native Son

by Richard Wright

Seller
Peyton Wilson
Published
1940
Condition
Very Good-
Edition
First
Item Price
$250.00

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Description:
Owned by the editor for Harper's (Thomas J. Wilson) who worked with Richard Wright on the book.
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$250.00
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Native Son

by Wright, Richard

Seller
David Kaye Books & Memorabilia
Published
1940
Edition
First Edition ~1st Printing
Item Price
$250.00

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Description:
New York: Harper & Bros, 1940. First Edition ~1st Printing. Hardcover. very good in professional facsimile dust jacket, in fresh mylar cover; gentle rubbing/bumping to board edges, minor abrasions to topstain, mild rubbing to title on cloth spine else a tight square unmarked copy in mint facsimile jacket; stated first edition with A-P
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$250.00
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Native Son

by Wright, Richard

Seller
Carpetbagger Books, IOBA
Published
1940
Condition
Near Fine
Edition
First Edition
Item Price
$216.00

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Description:
New York: Harper and Brothers, 1940. First Edition. Hardcover. Near Fine/Very Good. Near Fine second state binding in a Very Good second state jacket, rubbed at the edges and surface. Grey buckram with a black ink panel and gilt lettering and designs on the spine. Square and firmly bound with a dark grey top stain, clean internally. Wright's… Read more
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$216.00
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Native Son

by WRIGHT, Richard

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Between the Covers- Rare Books, Inc. ABAA
Published
1940
Condition
Near Fine
Item Price
$200.00

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New York: Harper & Brothers, 1940. Hardcover. Near Fine. First edition. Very light wear at the spine ends, else near fine lacking the dustwrapper. Along with Ellison's *Invisible Man* and Baldwin's *Go Tell It On the Mountain*, one of the indisputable mid-century classics of African-American literature.
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$200.00
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NATIVE SON

by Richard Wright

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Rare Book Cellar
Published
1940
Edition
First Edition; First Printing
Item Price
$199.00

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Description:
New York: Harper & Brothers. 1940. First Edition; First Printing. Hardcover. Very Good in cloth. Owner name and date on FEP. First Edition statement and "A - P" on the copyright page. ; ; 8vo 8" - 9" tall; Original binding. All domestic orders shipped protected in a Box. .
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$199.00
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Native Son

by Richard Wright

Seller
Books Express
Published
2014-01-04
Condition
New
ISBN
9780062357250
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$195.53

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2014-01-04. New. Ships with Tracking Number! INTERNATIONAL WORLDWIDE Shipping available. May be re-issue. Buy with confidence, excellent customer service!
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$195.53
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Native Son

by WRIGHT, Richard

Seller
abookshop
Published
1940
Condition
Good Only
Edition
First Edition
Item Price
$195.00

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NY: Harpers, 1940. A good only copy of the first edition/first state issue of this classic novel by Wright. Bound in dark blue cloth stamped in red and grey. Wear to all four spine ends and book a bit shaken. The interior pages are Very Good. Fitted with a facsimile dustwrapper that fits the book perfectly… Read more
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$195.00
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Native Son

by Wright, Richard

Seller
J. Mercurio Books, Maps, & Prints
Published
1968
Condition
Near Fine
Item Price
$185.00

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New York: Harper and Brothers. DJ in archival cover tiny chips, tape repair toning. Facsimile First Edition reprint. . Near Fine. Hardcover. 1968.
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$185.00
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Native Son

by Richard Wright

Seller
Tarrington Books
Published
1940
Condition
Good
Edition
1st Edition
Item Price
£164.78

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London: Victor Gollancz Ltd, 1940. 1st Edition . Good. 5.5 x 8 inches (14 x 20 cm). First UK edition. Lacking jacket. Blue cloth binding. Marking and rubbing to covers. Heavy browning to pages. Slight lean to binding. Clean text throughout. Previous owner's bookplate to front pastedown endpaper (Henry Courtney Brocklehurst of Swythamley Park, Staffordshire). A landmark work… Read more
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£164.78
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Native Son

by WRIGHT, Richard

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Argosy Book Store
Published
1940
Condition
very good
Item Price
$150.00

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New York: Harper, 1940. hardcover. very good/very good(-). 359 pages. 8vo, gray cloth with black spine label, pictorial d.w., worn. New York: Harper, (1940). First Edition. Cloth is lightly dampstained at foot of covers but pages are clean. Overall a very good copy in very good(-) dust wrapper. Second issue binding, and dust wrapper, with "First… Read more
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$150.00
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Native Son

by Richard Wright

Seller
Books Express
Published
2001-04-05
Condition
New
ISBN
9780060809775
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$130.42

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2001-04-05. New. Ships with Tracking Number! INTERNATIONAL WORLDWIDE Shipping available. May be re-issue. Buy with confidence, excellent customer service!
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Native Son

by Wright, Richard

Seller
Book Quest
Published
1940
Condition
Near Fine
Edition
1st Edition 1st Printing
Item Price
$128.80

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NY: 1st Edition Library 1940 -1990, 1940. 1st Edition 1st Printing. Hardcover. Near Fine/Near Fine. Facsimile of the first printing of the Harper & BrothersPrinted red title on the title page. The spine titles are gilt on a black background with grey boardswith Harper code "A-P" Introduction by Dorothy Canfield Fisher. Slip case. 8 vo,359 pages
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Native Son (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition) (Modern Classics (Pb))

by Richard Wright

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Books Express
Published
2005-06-01
Condition
New
ISBN
9781417686087
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$126.01

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2005-06-01. New. Ships with Tracking Number! INTERNATIONAL WORLDWIDE Shipping available. May be re-issue. Buy with confidence, excellent customer service!
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$126.01
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NATIVE SON

by Richard Wright

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Rare Book Cellar
Edition
The First Edition Library - FEL; First Printing
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$125.00

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Shelton, CT: The First Edition Library - FEL. Facsimile edition. The First Edition Library - FEL; First Printing. Hardcover. Fine in a Fine dust jacket in a Very Good slipcase. Slipcase bumped. Facsimile Edition. ; 8vo 8" - 9" tall; Original unclipped dust jacket protected by archival Brodart cover. All domestic orders shipped protected in… Read more
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$125.00
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Native Son

by Wright, Richard

Seller
Moe's Books
Published
1940
Condition
Very Good
Edition
1st Edition
Item Price
$125.00

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Harper & Bros, 1940. 1st Edition. Hardcover. Very Good/Good. First edition, second printing.
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$125.00
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NATIVE SON

by Richard Wright

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Rare Book Cellar
Edition
The First Edition Library - FEL; First Printing
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$125.00

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Shelton, CT: The First Edition Library - FEL. Facsimile edition. The First Edition Library - FEL; First Printing. Hardcover. Fine in a Fine dust jacket in a Very Good slipcase. Slipcase bumped. Facsimile Edition. ; 8vo 8" - 9" tall; Original unclipped dust jacket protected by archival Brodart cover. All domestic orders shipped protected in… Read more
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$125.00
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Native Son

by Wright, Richard

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Last Exit Books
Published
1940
Condition
Very Good in Very Good- dust jacket
Item Price
$124.95

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E-142: Harper & Bros. Very Good in Very Good- dust jacket. 1940. Hardcover. Hardcover. 8vo. Harper & Brothers Publishers. 1940. 359 pgs. First Edition/Later State Binding and DJ. Later state pictorial DJ has light shelf-wear present to the DJ. No ownership marks present. Text is clean and free of marks, binding tight and solid, boards clean with… Read more
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$124.95
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Native Son

by Richard Wright

Seller
Westsider Rare & Used Books Inc.
Published
1940
Condition
Good++ faded spine, wear to extrems. Former owner's name on the FFEP. Stated first edition A-P. Top edged stained.
Edition
First Edition
Item Price
$120.00

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New York: Harper & Bros, 1940. First Edition. Hardcover, missing Dust Jacket. Good++ faded spine, wear to extrems. Former owner's name on the FFEP. Stated first edition A-P. Top edged stained. .
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$120.00
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NATIVE SON

by Richard Wright

Seller
Rare Book Cellar
Published
1940
Edition
BOMC Book-Of-the-Month-Club
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$119.95

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New York: Harper & Brothers. 1940. BOMC Book-Of-the-Month-Club. Hardcover. Very Good in a Good dust jacket. Flaps clipped on corners, book plate. First Edition stated with A-P. Below. BOMC slip neatly laid in. ; 8vo 8" - 9" tall; Original unclipped dust jacket protected by archival Brodart cover. All domestic orders shipped protected in a Box.… Read more
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$119.95
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Native Son

by Wright, Richard

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Books Express
Published
2007-09-15
Condition
New
ISBN
9780099282938
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$111.27

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2007-09-15. New. Ships with Tracking Number! INTERNATIONAL WORLDWIDE Shipping available. May be re-issue. Buy with confidence, excellent customer service!
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$111.27
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Native Son

by Richard Wright

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Books Express
Published
2008-07-01
Condition
New
ISBN
9780061148507
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$111.27

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2008-07-01. New. Ships with Tracking Number! INTERNATIONAL WORLDWIDE Shipping available. May be re-issue. Buy with confidence, excellent customer service!
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Native Son

by Richard Wright

Seller
Atticism Gallery Sydney
Published
1940
Condition
Very Good
Edition
1st Edition
Item Price
AU$109.03

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1940 First Australian Edition, Angus and Robertson Sydney London 1940. Hardcover with jacket. A Book of the Month Club Selection. Important Modern African American Novel. Very good clean and sound copy, spotting endpapers, a small insect nibble hole through prelims. Good jacket, browned and chipped at edges, now plastic protected.
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AU$109.03
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Native Son (Perennial Classics)

by Richard Wright

Seller
Books Express
Published
2005-09-04
Condition
New
ISBN
9780060837563
Item Price
$106.85

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2005-09-04. New. Ships with Tracking Number! INTERNATIONAL WORLDWIDE Shipping available. May be re-issue. Buy with confidence, excellent customer service!
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$106.85
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NATIVE SON

by WRIGHT, Richard

Seller
Second Life Books Inc
Published
1940
Edition
First Edition
Item Price
$106.00

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NY: Harper, 1940. First Edition. 8vo, pp. 359. Slightly scuffed at ends of spine, in the more common second binding of gray cloth. A nice copy in chipped dj.
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Native Son (Perennial Classics)

by Richard Wright

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Books Express
Published
2008-08-08
Condition
Good
ISBN
9781435293403
Item Price
$104.53

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2008-08-08. Good. Ships with Tracking Number! INTERNATIONAL WORLDWIDE Shipping available. May not contain Access Codes or Supplements. May be re-issue. May be ex-library. Shipping & Handling by region. Buy with confidence, excellent customer service!
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$104.53
image of Native Son (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition) (Modern Classics (Pb))

Native Son (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition) (Modern Classics (Pb))

by Richard Wright

Seller
Books Express
Published
2005-06-01
Condition
Good
ISBN
9781417686087
Item Price
$102.12

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Description:
2005-06-01. Good. Ships with Tracking Number! INTERNATIONAL WORLDWIDE Shipping available. May not contain Access Codes or Supplements. May be re-issue. May be ex-library. Shipping & Handling by region. Buy with confidence, excellent customer service!
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Item Price
$102.12