BEHOLD THIS WOMAN - PRESENTATION COPY
Place Published: New York
Publisher: D. Appleton-Century Company, Inc.
Date Published: 1947
Edition: First Edition
Book Id: 466
First Printing. Octavo; light gray cloth, with titled and blocked in black on spine and front panel; dustjacket; 281pp. Presentation Copy, inscribed by Goodis to a fellow employee at Warner Brother's: "February 9, 1948. To - Helen Fahringer - who is one of the most pleasant personalities in the Writers' Building at Warners. With my fond wishes - David Goodis." Faint offset to pastedowns, else a tight, Fine copy. Dustjacket is unclipped (priced $2.75), lightly spine-sunned, with some light edgewear, 2 short tears to rear panel, with a small scrape at upper corner of front joint; 2" of unnecessary brown paper reinforcement along edges on verso; Very Good+.
Behold This Woman is Goodis' most autobiographical novel, a bizarre paean and cathartic payback to his estranged wife, Elaine Astor. The book was commercially successful, but more importantly, Goodis used the novel to lay the foundation for the type of woman his male protagonists would become entangled with; think Mommy Dearest meets The Black Widow. The novel tells the story of Clara Ervin, a manipulative, calculating, and cold-blooded woman who systematically emasculates and ruins her husband, as well as several other men, before meeting a violent death. To some degree, she embodies many characteristics of Goodis' wife Elaine, a central character in his life and the person who, ultimately, dealt him a piercing blow from which he did not recover for the remainder of his days. Books inscribed by Goodis are extremely rare; we know of but a handful of examples which have come to the market, nearly all of which were inscribed to people Goodis worked with at Warner Brothers, during some of the happier times in his life. The recipient was a much-loved secretary at Warner Brothers, working there well into her 70's. An attractive copy of the author's fourth hardcover book, and the only inscribed copy of this title we have seen or handled.