East of Eden. By John Steinbeck. First Trade Edition, First Printing. Viking. New York, 1952.


John Steinbeck is a titan of American literature with numerous major contributions to American literary history. He is one of the few people to win both the Pulitzer Prize and the Nobel Prize. His everyman characters and sprawling, socially aware plots capture quintessential aspects of the American experience in the twentieth century. His prose, rich yet unadorned, contains a mastery of the English language on par with any writer before or after him. Of his greatest works, East of Eden contains all of these qualities at their highest. It was the work that won him the Nobel Prize for Literature. Steinbeck himself considered it his greatest achievement. In some ways, East of Eden is a modern retelling of the biblical Cain and Abel story–but it is much more than that. The beautiful descriptions of the Salinas Valley in California bring that place into the minds of readers vividly. The characters are some of Steinbeck’s best, especially the brothers Adam and Charles, and the dubious Cathy Ames, with the narrative shaping them through authentic dialogue and impressive third person detail. Upon its publication, it quickly became a bestseller. Readers were intrigued, disturbed, and captivated by the novel’s balance of familial legacy, biblical allusion, and sinister acts, especially those of Cathy Ames. Critical reception was at first mixed towards the novel, but not so much as to deter it from winning some of the greatest literary awards. Today it remains one of Steinbeck’s best works–arguably his best–with new generations of readers studying East of Eden the world over.

This first trade edition, first printing is in about-fine condition. It is a first state copy with “bite” for “bight” on page 281. In the original green cloth boards, near fine with only minor fading to edges and minor bumping to spine ends. Text block near fine, only former owner’s bookplate and gift inscription to front endpaper. In the original first issue dust jacket, very good with unattributed author photo on the back. Only minor closed tears to edges of head of spine, very minor chipping and rubbing to folds, and minor fading. This edition is preceded only by the signed limited edition of 1,500 copies.

An about-fine first trade edition of Steinbeck’s classic, East of Eden.

Out of stock


East of Eden. By John Steinbeck. First Trade Edition, First Printing. Viking. New York, 1952.

Additional Information provides shipping weight and dimensions.

Additional information

Weight 5 lbs
Dimensions 12 × 9 × 5 in