The Epic of the Wheat. THE PIT. A Story of Chicago.
New York: Doubleday, Page & Co., 1903. Original grey boards with printed spine label.
First Edition, first issue (with the J.J. Little device and "First Edition" on the copyright page). This was the second volume in Norris's planned trilogy on human suffering and sacrifice, "The Epic of the Wheat." THE OCTOPUS (1901) had described the struggle between wheat farmers and the railroad interests in California, and THE PIT then follows the same wheat through the manipulation of the markets in Chicago. The third volume, which would have been titled THE WOLF, was going to follow the wheat to its destination, relieving a famine in Europe; however, Norris died in 1902 (after an appendix operation, at age 32), so the third volume was never written.
This is one of the "Special Presentation Edition" copies, bound in grey boards with printed spine label (rather than the trade copy's red cloth decorated in gilt). These copies include a frontispiece portrait, and also a pre-printed "presentation" passage on the front free endpaper -- this copy filled in with the name "Mr. William Holdredge". (We cannot identify this recipient, though there was a New York publisher by that name about fifty years earlier.) This is a clean, close-to-fine copy (top of spine bumped). It is unknown how many "presentation" copies were so bound, but every copy we've seen has had a recipient's name written in, so it presumably was somewhat limited. Blanck 15038; McElrath A7.1.a.1, binding A. Item #15171