Sold: Inscribed UTOPIA AMERICANA 1st L Frank Baum Wizard of Oz Wagenknecht Essay 1929


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Here is a rare bit of Oziana…a first edition of Utopia Americana inscribed by author Edward Wagenknecht. Published in 1929 by The University of Washington Book Store, University of Washington Chapbooks, Number 28. Oz Wiki describes the booklet better than I could:

Wagenknecht’s essay was published in a 40-page booklet by the University of Washington bookstore in Seattle. At the time Wagenknecht was a doctoral candidate at the University. It was the earliest serious consideration of Oz by a literary scholar. As its title indicates, the essay regards the Oz books as a form of Utopian literary expression. Wagenknecht drew heavily on famous and often-quoted passages in The Emerald City of Oz to make his case. He wrote that while L. Frank Baum’s books are not primarily works of social criticism, “Yet the utopian element in them is strong, and if the children do not forget it all by the time they grow up, perhaps it is not too fantastic to imagine that it may do some good.”

Simple softcover booklet has an attached russet dust cover; its front flap affixed with a “Compliments of Edward Wagenknecht” seal. Inscribed opposite “To Alice Simpson with every good wish–Sincerely–Edward Wagenknecht” 1929. With a beautiful dreamy frontispiece of Baum. The little book is in very good condition, with light fading to edges and a small blot at upper right; 1/4″ closed tear to rear jacket, and a couple small tears at top of rough-cut pages. Also a closed tear to base of frontis that appears to have been neatly glue repaired.