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Wright, Dare.

Lona. A Fairy Tale.


Wright, Dare.  Lona: A Fairy Tale.  New York: Random House, 1963.
4to.; illustrated throughout in black and white; pictorial endpapers; pictorial boards; pictorial dust-jacket; chipped at edges; slightly worn at corners.
First edition.  A presentation copy, inscribed on frontt endpaper: For Russ-/Dare.  A rare association copy, inscribed by Wright to a onetime suitor. Russell Barnett Aitken, ceramic sculptor, hunter and fisherman, met Wright at a cocktail party in 1953, and was immediately enamored with her.  Although he pursued her and continued to be fascinated with her for years to come, Aitken eventually married Annie Laurie Crawford, widow of George Crawford, who was the chairman of the board of the Columbia Gas and Electric Corporations.  Aitken was a fixture in the social world, and was described variously as a composite of James Stewart, Sir Anthony Eden and Errol Flynn.  In 1939, Esquire magazine ran a profile about him under the headline "Aitken: Playboy Ceramist."  Although pithy and entirely lacking emotion, Wright's inscription to Aitken is not uncharacteristic given the claustrophobic atmosphere of her upbringing by her mother: where one expects warmth there is none, instead of passion there is only the formality of the named recipient to tell us anything about their frustrated relationship.
Lona: A Fairy Tale speaks volumes about the desires of its author, who used her books as both retreats from and explorations of, the traumatic events in her life.  Lona tells the story of a princess's quest to rid her kingdom of a powerful spell cast by the vengeful wizard Druth. He has shrunk her to Barbie-doll size in an effort to prevent Lona from saving her home.  The delicate blond "Lona" doll photographed by Wright bears striking resemblance to the similarly childlike author, who posed for photos as life-size Lona in the book.  In the end, Lona not only saves her kingdom but also the man she loves, in a display of personal strength. The book reflects Wright's wish to exert more control in her own life.'

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