December 2, 2014

Dec 2

The Sportswriter

Richard Ford


Bid Online Share: 

SOLD: $7,000

First edition. Ford’s note on the half-title explains the origin of the book and some of his key artistic choices. “Began this book Easter Day, 1982, in Princeton, 4 ½ months after Mother died; some relentless grief needing ‘channeling’ – hence Ralph B. death & what to say about that. Grief being grief, whatever the source. It said ‘Write a book about somebody in 70s happy.’ Overcoming grief became that: happiness of a kind.” He explains who the character of Frank’s wife came to be known as just “X.” He used “X” in the typewritten manuscript because he “couldn’t settle on a name.” When he was finished his wife told him “You have to find a name. You can’t just have ‘X.’ But I couldn’t find one that seemed persuasive (to me) in Frank’s voice. So I ‘decided’ that Frank couldn’t any longer utter her name due to divorce, lost love, sadness. It’s typical novelist ‘logic’: make your writing problem become part of the story.” On his choice of largely present-tense verbs he quotes Wittgenstein: “He who lives in the present lives in eternity.” He takes great pleasure in recalling the dismissive comments of friends and acquaintances: “‘If this book doesn’t work, Ford, you’re toast.’” … “‘You can’t write this book Ford. Put it in a drawer and lock it. Never take it out.’ Lish, ’82. (wrong again).”

FORD, Richard (b. 1944). The Sportswriter. New York: Vintage, 1986. 8°. Illustrated wrappers.



© Laura Wilson

Richard Ford is the author of eleven works of fiction. His stories, novels, and essays have been translated into 28 languages and have won numerous literary accolades, including the PEN/Faulkner Award, the Pulitzer Prize for his novel Independence Day, and the prestigious Prix Femina Etrangere in 2013. His 2012 novel, Canada, was a New York Times best-seller. He resides in Maine and New York with his wife Kristina Ford. He is a Mellon Professor in the Humanities at Columbia University.