Loser Takes All
Loser Takes All

GREENE, Graham. Loser Takes All.

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GREENE, Graham. Loser Takes All. London: William Heinemann, 1955.

8vo., publisher's navy cloth, lettered in gilt to spine and front board, with decorative gilt border; publisher's device blindstamped to lower; in the unclipped dust jacket (7s 6d net), printed in yellow, blue and black; pp. [x], 3-140; boards slightly scuffed with some marginal sunning to extremities; a little dulled along the spine and with a light strip of sunning to the lower board; internally a lovely example, with some very faint spots to prelims; manuscript correction in later hand to p.81; the jacket vibrant and fresh, with only very slight shelfwear and some small nicks and closed tear; a very good to near-fine example.
First edition, with a signed presentation inscription by Greene to Edward Sackville-West: "For Eddie - this complete abortion, but I'm so tired of Good + Evil. with love, Graham, Jan 30 1955" to the front free endpaper.
The inscription refers to Greene's first published departure from his usual moralist themes to an experiment with comedy. Though Greene and Sackville-West missed each other at Oxford, their literary careers overlapped from the mid 1920s, and both converted to Catholicism. Sackville-West was one of very few whose literary opinion Greene respected. Loser Takes All is thus "an attempt to link comedy (especially satire, parody and burlesque) to the religious thriller" (Wobbe p.102.)
In his dedication Greene said he had not written "this little story" to encourage "adultery, the use of pyjama tops, or registry office weddings. Nor is it meant to discourage gambling". A film based on the novella was made in 1956, starring Rossano Brazzi, Glynis Johns, and Hal Osmond.