The Inhabitants. Photographs and text by Wright Morris. Charles Scribner's Sons, New York and London, 1946. Unpaged. Large quarto. First edition. SIGNED on title page and dated 11-23-1979. Beige cloth in printed dustjacket. Black-and-white reproductions.
Morris' acclaimed first photo-novel about America's heartland in the 1930's and 1940's, with many strikingly simple and direct photographs that perfectly represent the time and place. This body of work was the product of a Guggenheim Fellowhip (the second ever presented for photography), and allowed Morris to return to his native state of Nebraska to photograph the landscape and artifacts of the life he wanted the country to remember.
On its surface, the book's folksy lyricism is of a piece with efforts in painting (i.e. Grant Wood) to establish an American regionalism that could rival European culture ("Their outlook and their dreams unite with the pictures to form an evocative portrait of America," goes the jacket copy. "Each exists independently, until joined in the mind's eye of the reader."). Yet the austere, Modernist compositions also look forward to the unadorned 'truth-telling' of Robert Adams and other New Topographics artists. Featured in Andrew Inlcuded in Roth, The Book of 101 Books
Near Fine- in Very Good+ dust jacket; shelf wear and light soiling; slight bumps to crown and base of spine; jacket edge worn with light abrasion at extremities; small edge tears and chips.