As a novelist and screenwriter John Irving has created work that will be familiar to many. Cider House Rules; The World According to Garp and The Hotel New Hampshire have been adapted in to acclaimed films and, more recently, A Prayer for Owen Meany and A Widow for One Year have become international bestsellers.
Irving’s initial novels were less commercially successful however. Setting Free the Bears was his first work published in 1968; and while well received by critics it was largely overlooked by readers. Irving’s subsequent reputation has helped this debut work become more collectible though. A first edition of Setting Free the Bears can now reach up to $1,400 at auction.
The World According to Garp was the novel that brought Irving much wider attention in 1978. A first edition copy, published by E.P. Dutton, can be obtained by the collector for between $500 and $600. The Hotel New Hampshire, a slightly less recognized title from 1981, has realized up to $300.
Perhaps Irving’s most famous work is Cider House Rules. The novel tells the story of Homer Wells, a New England orphan, and his eventual homecoming to run the orphanage in which he grew up. Collectors can expect to pay around $400 to $500 for first editions of this 1985 book.
John Irving’s work is now widely known and continues to attract new readers and collectors. Although not hugely prolific, there are still around twenty books that the collector can seek out. His less known novels from the early 1970s may be of particular interest. The WaterMethod Man and The 158 Pound Marriage are intriguing titles still available at reasonable prices. Irving has very recently released his latest novel and so is likely to continue to be a popular literary name for some time to come.
Irving, John. Setting Free The Bears. Random House, New York (1968). ORIGINAL dustjacket has all the First Issue points present with minor wear to the edges; Jacket Illustration by Robert Dale (illustrator); 6000 copies.
Irving, John. The Water Method Man. Random House, New York (1972). 1st edition STATED on copyright page plus full numberline 98765432; FIRST EDITION in addition to beginning their number-line with 2 rather than 1;
Irving, John. The World According to Garp. Dutton, New York (1978). first printing as stated on copyright page with numberline beginning with 1; Jacket design by Leo Manso; 35000 copies; edition less tha 1500 copies.
Irving, John. 3 by Irving. Setting Free The Bears; The Water-Method Man; The 158-Pound Marriage. Random House, New York (1980). The first edition thus that includes Irving's first three books: Setting Free the Bears The Water-Method Man and the 158-Pound Marriage.
Irving, John. The Hotel New Hampshire. Dutton, New York (1981). First Edition stated on copyright page and number sequence "10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1." 550 copies;
Irving, John. Cider House Rules. William Morrow , New York (1985). 795 copies; 250 numbered and signed copies
Irving, John. The Cider House Rules. Franklin Library, Franklin Center (1985). Frontispiece by Scott Reynolds; 795 copies; 250 signed copies.
Irving, John. A Prayer for Owen Meany. Franklin Library, Franklin Center (1989). Frontispiece by Cary Henrie; The true First Edtion with an unspecified limitation preceding the trade edition and with an introduction by Irving not in the trade edition;
Irving, John. A Son of The Circus.. Random House, New York (1994). Author's eighth novel
Irving, John. A Widow for One Year. Bloomsbury, London (1998). First Edition number sequence is printed on copyright page 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1.; 1000 copies;
Irving, John. The Cider House Rules, Original Shooting Script. Miramax Films (1999). Title page states: The Cider House Rules, Screenplay by John Irving.