Cain's Book

TROCCHI, Alexander. Cain's Book.

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TROCCHI, Alexander. Cain's Book. London: John Calder, 1963.

8vo, original red publisher's boards, lettered in gilt to spine; in the original unclipped dust wrapper (25s.) with a photograph of a sculpture by the author; pp. [viii], 9-252, [iv]; text block a little pushed to head and foot; with some light marks to edges, else fine in a good to very good wrapper, slightly toned and with some nicks and splits to edges, with chip to head of spine and a few short closed tears, the longest 3cm.
First UK edition, originally published in the US by Grove Press in 1960.
Trocchi was a Scottish beat writer. In the 1950s he relocated to Paris where he edited the literary magazine Merlin, publishing such authors as Henry Miller, Samuel Beckett, Christopher Logue, and Pablo Neruda. It was in Paris that he acquired a life-long addiction to heroin, and Cain's Book, written shortly after he moved to America, became somewhat of a sensation as an honest study of heroin addiction which included descriptions of sex and drug use. Like many of his contemporaries in the Beat scene at the time, the novel was banned in Britain and became the subject of an obscenity trial. Trocchi himself narrowly missed jail, escaping over the border to Canada where he met up with Leonard Cohen.
At the 1962 Edinburgh Writers Festival, Trocchi claimed "sodomy" as a basis for his writing. During the same festival, Hugh MacDiarmid denounced him as "cosmopolitan scum."