Warhol, Andy. A. A Novel by Andy Warhol.
: Grove Press, 1968. New York
8vo.; black cloth stamped in white; illustrated dust-jacket. Fine.
First edition, first printing. The “A” stands for amphetamine, as this novel is the story of the A-men. A is an un-edited transcript of non-stop talk recorded in 1965 over the course of 24 hours spent in the company of Ondine, a brilliant talker and "Pope" of the amphetamine scene that coalesced around Warhol in the Silver Factory years. Brigid Berlin (The Duchess), Billy Name, Rotten Rita (The Mayor) and many others make appearances throughout the long day and night of chemically-fuelled chatter, argument, insult, and anecdote. All of this, recorded and transcribed, became Warhol's intentionally boring, bad, unreadable “novel” which, no surprise, wasn’t well received by literary critics. Times critic Sally Beauman panned it, writing, “it’s frightening to think one can be bored by this sort of willful self-destruction, but one can.” As for the characters, “they lose all identity, they all sound alike, they evoke nothing, not even compassion.” Exactly. It is uninflected and non-expressive, a machine-made novel, not written but simply recorded. Warhol had abandoned usual definitions of artistry and instead identified totally with the processes of contemporary media; that coldness was the point. A may well be a bad, boring and unreadable novel, but it is a masterpiece of Pop art nonetheless. This copy is in near perfect condition.