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1916, Eyes

1919, Shepherd
1924, Man
1924, Mine
1925, Son Father 
1925. Brian K
1926, Barb W
1928, Shepherd
(1928, Lights)
1930, Eyes
1935, When Man
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1937, West  Gold
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1937, Secret Vly
1937, Californian
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1949, Massacre
1959, Shep (TV)
1964, Shepherd

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15.  Exit 


Exit, by Harold Bell Wright, dust jacket Exit, by Harold Bell Wright

First Edition

Appleton, 1930, red, (1) on last page.  Dust jacket has stage curtain showing person making exit.

Total sales: 48,927

List of editions

Value Guide


Background

This is the story of a housewife in a small western town and several men in a western desert. I do not know of any particular location. The book is certainly not an easy read, and when I was finished I had the feeling I had fought my way through an obstacle course. Evidently Harold Bell Wright wrote the outline of this story as a play for his middle son, Paul, to act in. But Paul tragically and unexpectedly died before the script was finished. Rather than discard the play, Wright repackaged it as a novel -- sort of.

Harold Bell Wright's personal relationship to this book is made clear in a note he inscribed in a copy I found in a Pasadena bookshop. I sold the book to the Wright family and they put it in the HBW museum in Branson, Missouri. Harold's son, Norman Wright, commented on the inscription: 

In 1928, Harold Bell Wright's 26-year old son, Paul, had a growth removed from his scalp. When an infection set in, Wright rushed Paul from Tucson to the Albert Soiland Radiological Clinic in Los Angeles, where Paul died while under the care of the favorite Wright physican, Dr. Orville Newton Meland [pronounced May-lund], (b.1889), co-director of the clinic.

Until his death Paul was acting, mostly in Tucson. 

To:
Dr. Orville N. Meland,

My dear doctor, I doubt if you find
much time for books like this, but I am
hoping you will make an effort to read
my story which was first planned as a
play for Paul. I can never forget your
goodness to him and to us all.
     Sincerely
          Harold Bell Wright
Tucson, Ariz.
Aug 15, 1930

 

Collecting

This was the last of Harold Bell Wright's books to sell fairly well -- or well for people not named Harold Bell Wright. The books are not too hard to find, but the nice dust jackets are a greater challenge. All first editions were published by Appleton and look exactly like the photos at the top of this page.  A. L. Burt produced a reprint.

Total sales: 48,927

Notes for Owners of "Books and Collectibles"

Perhaps this will qualify as a correction. In my book I wondered if the direction of the little triangular marks on the cloth cover beside the title are of any significance. Some point up and others point down. Several knowledgeable collectors agree that it is probably just something that happened because the books were printed simultaneously in different print shops. We will probably never know for sure.

Review of Book by Dr. Joyce Kinkead  Copyright 1979 by Joyce Kinkead.  Used by Permission

         Exit (1930), dedicated to his actor son Paul who died shortly before 1930, represents another structural departure for Wright.  Divided into three parts--"The People in the Play," "The Play," and "After the Play"--the novel uses a theatre motif throughout and draws from Shakespeare for its theme:  "All the world's a stage, /And all the men and women merely players, /They have their exits and their entrances (As you Like It, II. vii. 139-141).

            The novel covers the love stories of two generations set in Orchard Hill, Ohio.  Continue>>>

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This Harold Bell Wright web site is written and produced by Gerry Chudleigh with the help of many friends.
Copyright 2000-May, 2011 by Gerry Chudleigh
Last updated 05/26/11