GLADIATOR. Philip Wylie.


New York: Avon Publishing Company, Inc., [1949]. Small octavo, pictorial wrappers. First paperback edition. Avon #216. This is the first paperback edition of this novel, according to the front cover, revised and edited for this edition. Gladiator, the author's third published novel was, in fact, a re-write of "Titan," an allegorical fantasy which Knopf accepted for publication in the late spring of 1927 subject to its being completely re-written. However, Wylie wanted his first published novel to be a serious realistic work which would make a good impression on the critics, so he wrote and published Heavy Laden (1928) and Babes and Sucklings (1929), before reluctantly re-writing GLADIATOR, published in March 1930. Wylie's novel is considered by some SF critics to be the prototype for the comic strip hero Superman. According to Sam Moskowitz (Explorers of the Infinite), the creators of Superman (Siegel and Schuster) not only borrowed the central theme of Gladiator, but paraphrased some of the dialogue as well. "A novel about the growth to adulthood of a boy who is a physical (although not intellectual) 'superman.' It is the first important sympathetic superman story, but exhibits the customary pessimism regarding the prospect of the hero's eventual integration into the human world -- a pessimism set aside by the creators of the comic book Superman, who borrowed the novel's central notion." - Anatomy of Wonder (1987) 2-145. "Hugo Danner [the main character] is the first modern superman, impervious to harm, able to fly through the air (in gigantic leaps), cover enormous distances at great speed, carry fantastic weights..." - Bleiler, Science-Fiction: The Early Years #2446. As a strange aside the novel was turned into a comedy film starring Joe E. Brown in 1938 with the title The Gladiator, it bears virtually nothing in common with the book. A fine copy, some rubbing and mild shelf wear to spine ends, mild rubbing to rear spine edge else an unread copy in wrappers. (11332). Item #11332

Price: $75.00

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