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Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up To Me
Been down so long dust jacket : front
 Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up To probably began shortly after his marriage to Carolyn Hester in early 1960,  as Carolyn has testified to not only serving as sounding board as the novel progressed, but also as typist for first 90 pages, written over the next three years of its extended birth.  Rumored to be his second novel, it's certainly the first to be finished. (There are two candidates for the 1st novel, both reportedly written at some point during his Cornell days (see: riots at Cornell breed literary ...), with one, according to Hajdu's book, alleged to be about his mother's Irish family ; the other is mainly remembered by his former Cornell cohorts as something he liked to announce he was working on daily, or had just about finished, or tragically abandoned. Reports, possibly as appocryphal as the fabled novel itself, were that whichever it was, wasn't or might have been,  "it was awful.")  
Been Down So Long had been shopped around as a work-in-progress to several British publishers in the early part of 1963, but turned down.  Submitted to Random House by Fariña's  agent, Robert Mills (of the Mills Agency, who also handled Richard Brautigan, Langston Hughes, James Baldwin and Isaac Asimov) , it was accepted in April, 1965 (minus the proposed von Schmidt illustrations of things only alluded to in the prose) and edited by Jim Silberman (later, the much-sympathized-with editor of Hunter Thompson).
Fariña was paid the staggering advance sum of $5400. The book was originally announced for the Fall of 1965, and later moved to the spring publishing season, at the end of April, 1966.
Following a publication party at the Random House offices at 457 Madison Ave., in NYC in late April, (featuring music by the Chambers Brothers), Fariña returned to California for a scheduled signing on April 30th at the Thunderbird Bookshop in the small coastal village of Carmel (home of sister-in-law Joan Baez and one of several places on both coasts he called home). The next day was to include a trip to San Francisco for another signing at the Discovery Bookshop, a bookstore at 245 Columbus Avenue, just a few doors down from City Lights Bookstore.

Posters like the one at right were printed and decorated the city for the party that was to be...
Poster used to advertise May 1st booksigning at Discovery Bookshop, SF

The book : its history and design

Been down so long dust jacket : front
The cover didn't change as long as the hardcover book was in print (5 printings - it stayed in print until the mid-70s) ; it was designed by and featured an ink wash drawing by Fariña pal and world-class graphic artist Eric von Schmidt (who was delighted to get the cover - he and Fariña had given up the original illustrated novel concept when it looked like Random would turn the novel down in that format) - von Schmidt has said he made Gnossos look  close to Dick because " I read the novel at various stages of completion and just said 'C'mon, man - this is YOU !' and he just did one of those little half-smiles of his - I mean, he was Gnossos, man", inserting the pervasive monkey-demon and  Kristin McLeod to round out the picture.  
First editions had a two paragraph bio  to the right of the photo of the David Gahr photo of the author.
The photo is from the same NYC session used on the Elektra Singer Songwriter Project , and later on the Penguin trade paper edition.
The second edition added a review from Richard Kluger of Book Week, above the photo,  describing  the novel as " A madly careening odyssey of a charismatic young-anti-hero." Also added for the second edition was a prefatory sentence to the biography noting Fariña's death.
Pictured below is the fourth editon which added a third paragraph plugging the "recently published" Long Time Coming and a Long Time Gone.
Been Down So Long, 1st ed., back notes
Been Down So Long, back, 4th printing
The hardcover edition was originally published in blue boards with a green cloth binding, changing to orange boards but keeping green cloth binding for the second edition. It went through five known editions before going out of print in the mid 70s.

been down so long it looks like up to me - paperback reissues

dell paperback editions : 1967- 1982

KIn June, 1967, Dell would bring out a mass market paperback edition. Originally priced at seventy-five cents, it would go through about eight printings (as of April, 1970) before Dell issued a "new edition" and starting the numbering over again in February, 1971  with an fated movie tie-in edition and a new cover. Following one printing of the movie cover, they moved the ad to p.2 and reverted to the original cover.
KFebruary, 1971 :This cover advertised the Paramount film as "an outstanding film", and were probably alone in their excitement. They kept this cover  for one printing, and then in May, 1971, did a second printing of the new edition (they'd restarted the p[rinting history) that went back to the orginal cover art and kept to it until Viking Penguin bought the rights in the early eighies.

Been Down So Long, mass market 1st ed., June 1967Been Down So Long, mass market 1st ed., June 1967
Been Down So Long, movie tie-in, 1st ed. , Feb.'71Been Down So Long, movie tie-in, 1st ed. , Feb.'71

Penguin trade paperbacks
1983 - present

Penguin's edition was a larger, trade-sized paperback edition which came out in February, 1983, at $4.95. This edition featured a new cover designed by Neil Stuart with a David Gahr photo of a band-aided Fariña (on the neck - I'm sure his vanity required asking Gahr to air brush it out - and 17 years later everyone forgot), from the same NYC alley session that yielded the other photos used on Been Down So Long. This time Fariña's leather jacket is draped over his shoulders instead of being worn.
A simultaneous hardcover edition of this was also published ( at $14.75), probably aimed at library sales, as few copies ever made their way to bookstores.  The hardcover used their Viking Press imprint (paper was Penguin ), and was done on blue boards with yellow cloth binding. The paper edition's white back cover featured a cropped copy of the cover photo over a line from Thomas Pynchon's blurb written for the book, which in turn, hovered over a paragraph of marketing copy; the hardcover featured the unedited blurb by Pynchon boxed and centered on an orange field.
Been Down So Long, Penguin trade paper ed. 1st ed. - Feb.'83
Been Down So Long, Viking HC 1st ed., 2/83
This edition went through thirteen years of reprintings before Penguin decided to spruce it up and place it in their Twentieth-Century Classics series, at $12.95. Originally announced in the fall 1995 catalog for November of that year, it was delayed until Spring, 1996 while the marketing people argued with the sales people over just how much, if any, of the new David Gahr photo to crop. Modesty won out and Fariña's bemused smile was left a mystery.

Been Down So Long, Penguin, 2nd cover, 1996

Ó 2002, 2003, 2010 Greg Pennell
last updated  1 mar'10