Please Plant This Book.
BRAUTIGAN Richard (1968.)
£1250.00 [First Edition]
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First edition. Cream card folder printed in sepia ink containing eight coloured seed packets, complete with original seeds. Slight scuff to lower right corner of recto side, glue fixing internal flaps of folder dried, slight offsetting and staining to some packets from seeds, as usual. Graham Mackintosh, Santa Barbara,
Originally issued in an edition of 6000 to be handed out for free at the First Day of Spring Festival in Golden Gate Park, this book saw Brautigan during his most Digger-aligned period, and exercises in form some of the key concepts of the just-passed Summer of Love. It also shows a further evolution of the "cybernetic ecology" first referenced in his 1967 poem "All Watched Over By Machines of Loving Grace", eerily foreshadowing the Bay Area tech boom and the birth of Silicone Valley.
The construction and collation history of this book are unsurprisingly vague, given the context of the period, and various funders have been posited by Brautigan's contemporaries. They include The Unicorn Bookshop of Isla Vista, an anonymous member of The Diggers, and most compellingly and oft cited, the band Mad River. A full list of sources can be found at John F. Barber's comprehensive brautigan.net, but essentially it seems likely that Mad River contributed money from the Capitol Records advance for their third album, and helped fill the seed packets in a reciprocal gesture for Brautigan's assistance assembling their first record.
This free economy is very in keeping with the Digger aesthetic, and is echoed by the sentiment on the colophon: "THIS BOOK IS FREE / Permission is granted to reprint this book by anyone as long as it is not sold."
Despite the relatively large number of copies printed, the book is reasonably scarce on the market. This may well be because recipients followed the instructions and planted it. Well held in American institutions, but Worldcat finds only one copy in Europe, at the University of Oxford. No copy in the BL.
We are ashamed to say that this copy is not free.
Stock Code: 221511