Joyce Carol Oates remains one of America’s most celebrated writers, but still, sadly, often forgotten by collectors or the public eye; owing in part perhaps to the fact that she is a contemporary writer (collectors, it seems, like best to wait at least a hundred years after a work has been released)! It is with great pleasure that we can see a turn of interest in Oates’ early works, particularly them (Vanguard Press, 1969) or By the North Gate (Vanguard Press, 1963).
There are, of course, many fine reasons to collect Joyce Carol Oates. If not only as a fan of her writing, but also in celebration of the career of a writer who has tackled such social and personal issues as class, race, drugs, death, obsession, and the American Dream. Her very early short story Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been (1966) both shocked and seized the critic’s attention with the investigation of love, murder, and obsession.
One of the most important features of collecting a contemporary such as Oates are, of course, the presence of marginalia, provenance, and the conclusion of a true first printing.
The true first edition of them (Vanguard Press, 1969) has the expected silver-grey dustjacket, with the title in a rather modernist style. However, the true first also has the cover price on the inside cover set to $6.95, as well as features two publisher reviews on the inside flap (not one, as with the later print edition). The back of the true first dustjacket has a picture of a young Oates, hair down, inside a building by a window, whereas the later printing has a much more glamorous photo of Oates, outside, and standing in front of a garden or hedge. Other differences between the true first printing and the later abound: the most salient being that the copyright page of the true first of them has no publication date, and does not admit to being a first printing at all. The later editions do have such dates.
In this way, Joyce Carol Oates is an excellent example of how collecting the contemporary can become an exciting detective-hunt, as you search for clues to the exact provenance of your works! Happy hunting!
Oates, Joyce Carol. Upon the Sweeping Flood. Vanguard, New York (1966). “and Other Stories”
Oates, Joyce Carol. Women in Love. Albondocani Press, New York (1968). “and Other Poems”; 26 lettered copies and 150 numbered copies signed by author
Oates, Joyce Carol. Cupid and Psyche. Albondocani Press, New York (1970). 26 lettered copies, signed by author
Oates, Joyce Carol. Marriages and Infidelities. Vanguard Press, New York (1972). Short stories; review copy
Oates, Joyce Carol. New Heaven, New Earth. The Vanguard Press, Inc., New York (1974). “The Visionary Experience in Literature”
Oates, Joyce Carol. The Girl. Pomegranate Press, Cambridge (1974). Illustrated with 6 color linoleum blocks by Karyl Klopp; limited edition of 300 copies total, 50 deluxe copies in red leather signed by Oates and Klopp
Oates, Joyce Carol. Daisy. Black Sparrow Press, Santa Barbara (1977). Limited edition of 170 copies signed by author plus Limited deluxe edition of 60 numbered copies specially bound and signed by Oates; includes original drawing by Oates
Oates, Joyce Carol. Season of Peril. Black Sparrow Press, Santa Barbara (1977). Limited edition of 60 numbered copies specially bound and signed by author with original ink drawing by Oates tipped in
Oates, Joyce Carol. Sentimental Education. Sylvester and Orphanos, Los Angeles (1978). Limited edition of 330 copies: 300 numbered, 26 lettered, and 4 presentation copies, signed by author
Oates, Joyce Carol. All the Good People I've Left Behind. Black Sparrow Press, Santa Barbara, CA (1979). Total edition of 350 copies, Deluxe limited edition of 50 numbered specially bound slipcase copies, signed by author
Oates, Joyce Carol. Queen of the Night. Lord John Press, Northridge (1979). Total edition of 350 copies, 50 numbered deluxe bound copies signed by author
Oates, Joyce Carol. The Lamb of Abyssalia. Pomegranate Artbooks, Cambridge (1979). Illustrated by Karyl Klopp; Limited edition of 300 copies and 50 deluxe copies signed by author and illustrator, 20 artist proof copies (signed by author and illustrator) and 450 unsigned copies
Oates, Joyce Carol. Ceslestial Timepiece. Pressworks, Dallas (1980). Illustrated by Paula George; Total edition of 376 copies, numbered and lettered, signed by author and illustrator
Rosenberg, L.M. MSS: A Retrospective. New London Press, Dallas (1980). Introduction by John Gardner (editor); Contributions by Oates, Gass, Hawkes, David Ray, Thomas McAfee, Dock Wilson Adams, William Palmer, Ben Payne, and James Trammel Cox; 2 copies of the suppressed first printing
Oates, Joyce Carol. Nightless Nights. William B. Ewert, Concord, NH (1981). Nine Poems; 26 lettered copies signed by author
Oates, Joyce Carol. Funland. William B. Ewert, Concord, NH (1983). Illustrated by Gillian Tyler; Total edition of 150 copies, 40 deluxe copies signed by author and illustrator
Oates, Joyce Carol. Small Hymns. William B. Ewert, Concord, New Hampshire (1983). A poem; Illustrated by Mary Ann Hayden; limited edition of 100 numbered copies signed by Oates and Hayden
Oates, Joyce Carol. Luxury of Sin. Lord John Press, Northridge CA (1984). Total edition of 151 copies, Limited edition of 26 lettered copies, specially bound and signed by the author
Oates, Joyce Carol. Blue-Bearded Lover. William B. Ewert, Concord (1987). Calligraphy and Illustrations by R.P. Hale; limited edition of 26 lettered copies (total edition of 100)
Oates, Joyce Carol. On Boxing. Dolphin Doubleday, New York (1987). Illustrated with dual-tone photographs by John Ranard; Limited edition of 250 numebred copies, signed
Oates, Joyce Carol. The Time Traveler. Lord John Press, Northridge, California (1987). Poems; total edition of 176 copies, includes 26 deluxe lettered copies; signed by author
Etchison, Dennis (editor). Lord John Ten. Lord John Press, Northridge CA (1988). “A Celebration”; Afterword by Dennis Etchison; Introduction by Ray Bradbury; Limited edition of 250 copies signed by all contributors (26): Robert Bloch, Ray Bradbury, Ramsey Cambell, Raymond Carver, James Crumley, Jack Dann, Dennis Etchison, William Everson, Gerald R. Ford, Bruce Francis, Stan Freberg, Tess Gallagher, Jim Harrison, Roberta Lannes, Patrick W. Magee, Barry N. Malzberg, William F. Nolan, Joyce Carol Oates, Robert B. Parker, Bronwyn G. Pughe, James Purdy, Whitley Strieber, John Updike, Diane Wakoski, Derek Walcott, and Lorri Ziegler.
Oates, Joyce Carol. JCO AND I (after Borges).. William B. Ewert; Concord, NH (1994). Collection of works by Joyce Carol Oates; 25 numbered copies signed by author; complete edition of 1100 copies
Oates, Joyce Carol et al. A Convergence of Birds. Distributed Art Pub., Inc., New York (2001). “Original Fiction and Poetry Inspired by Joseph Cornell”; Illustrated with photographs by Cornell; 225 numbered limited edition signed by all contributors: Jonathan Safran Foer. Writings by: Jonathan Safran Foer, Diane Ackerman, Martine Bellen, John Burghardt, Mary Caponegro, Robert Coover, Lydia Davis, Siri Hustvedt, Ann Lauterbach, Barry Lopez, Rick Moody, Bradford Morrow, Howard Norman, Joyce Carol Oates, Robert Pinsky, Erik Anderson Reece, Rosemarie Waldrop, Paul West, Diane Williams, John Yau.
Oates, Joyce Carol, et al. Transgressions. Forge, New York (2005). Anthology; Limited edition of 200 copies, signed by all 10 contributors: Lawrence Block, Jeffery Deaver, John Farri, Stephen Kin, Sharyn McCrum, Walter Mosle, Joyce Carol Oate, Anne Perr, Donald E. Westlake, Ed McBain