THE OCTOPUS: A STORY OF CALIFORNIA. New York: Doubleday, Page & Co., 1901. Octavo, pp. [1-8] [1-3] 4-652 [653-654: blank], one full page map in text, original decorated red cloth, front and spine panels stamped in gold. First edition, first printing with the J. J. Little device on the copyright page. The first volume of Norris' unfinished trilogy "The Epic of Wheat." "THE OCTOPUS is better known than McTEAGUE, although it is a lesser achievement as a work of art. The reason for its wider reputation is that it has a broader social theme and significance, the struggle of the San Joaquin ranchers against the Southern Pacific monopoly, culminating in the Mussel Slough massacre, that tragic incident of violence which occurred when the railroad's minions confronted the ranchers ... In reading THE OCTOPUS, I confess to having been moved more by the valley scenes -- the first rain and subsequent plowing, the barn dance and fight, the jackrabbit drive, and the panoramic descriptions -- than by the conflict between the ranchers and railroad, cold potatoes now that the lobbying power of the Southern Pacific is only history. Norris's visions of the valley recall those of Muir and Steinbeck. Fully as much as seacoast, mountains and desert, the central valley is pure Californian, ever powerful in its effect on life and literature." - Powell, California Classics, pp. 180-1. "THE OCTOPUS comes very near summing up the American experience of economics from the Civil War to 1900; and in the largeness and the multiplicity of its total materials -- story, characters, subject matter, ideas -- it can be compared only with those Hugoesque, Tolstoyesque leviathans of fiction that Norris was emulating." - Taylor,The Economic Novel in America, p. 297. THE OCTOPUS is the most ambitious novel of its generation. Though planned as the first of a trilogy which was to follow the wheat through the three stages of growth, marketing, and export to famine-ridden Europe or Asia, it must stand alone, for its sequel THE PIT (1903) is a relapse into the conventional novel form, and the third work, THE WOLF, was never written." - Spiller, et al, Literary History of the United States, p. 1033. BAL 15036. Smith, American Fiction, 1901-1925 N-126. Baird and Greenwood, An Annotated Bibliography of California Fiction 1664-1970 1881. A fine copy. (#156229).
No statement of printing.