Saturday, May 5, 2012

The Underground City by H.L. Humes

British First Edition from 1958
This is H.L. Humes' first novel, published in America in 1958 by Random House and in Great Britain the same year by Heinemann. It is a sprawling World War II novel (758 pages!) about the French resistance, politics, war, life, and humanity—it is without question one of my favorite books. Humes was a co-founder of the Paris Review, among many other things, and this was the first of two books he published in his lifetime. I have had the extraordinary pleasure of archiving Humes' papers, which are now currently in the process of finding a home, and I think it's fair to say at this point that I know a great deal about the man and his works. 

A note to Humes from the Publicity Department at Random House (image courtesy of the Humes Archive) 
Part of a stellar review clipped from the Chicago Sunday Tribune (image courtesy of the Humes Archive)
Both his novels, The Underground City in particular, are incredibly under-read and unknown despite being very successful upon release. Humes later suffered a breakdown that in many ways he never recovered from in the mid-1960's, and stopped writing for the most part. Both his novels were reprinted 40 years later by Random House at the beginning of 2008, which you should go and buy without question.

An advanced reading copy of The Underground City
Currently in print new edition of The Underground City

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