New York: Random House, 1990. 1st Edition. Small octavo, publisher's black cloth over black paper-covered boards, spine and upper board stamped in silver, original printed dust jacket.
"It is hopelessness even more than pain that crushes the soul." Signed first edition of award-winning American writer William Styron's literary tour de force detailing the personal and phenomenological aspects of clinical depression. Overcome by insomnia and malaise in 1985, Styron soon descended into what would become the most crippling depressive episode of his life, almost ending in suicide. Styron not only chronicles his first-hand experiences with candor and precision, but also acknowledges and criticizes the still present taboo around mental illness that prevents sufferers from finding help. The memoir, which is an expansion of an essay originally published in Vanity Fair, is also in part a response to what Styron saw as an unsympathetic and ignorant response from the general public to Primo Levi's suicide in 1987. Stated first edition on the copyright page, with 2 the lowest number in number row, indicating first printing per the publisher's custom from 1976 onwards. Signed by Styron on the half-title. Fine in unclipped dust jacket. Item #5183