Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: Cotton Comes To Harlem

From: Mark Sullivan (
Date: 22 Jul 2004

Jim D asked:

"Was there an English-language version (in the UK or elsewhere) of COTTON called BACK TO AFRICA that preceded the American edition? Did the American edition precede the film version (in which case the film title would not have affected the novel's English title)?"

Obviously, I can't give as definitive an answer as Jim S, but until he gets to it, I can report that I have a Dell movie tie-in papeback of Cotton Comes to Harlem. The copyright page in it says:

Copyright C 1965 by Chester Himes

All rights reserved

Dell TM 681510, Dell Publishing Co., Inc.

Originally published in France under the title Retour En Afrique C 1964 by Libairie Plon

Reprinted by arrangement with GP Putnam's Sons New York, NY

Printed in the USA

Previous Dell Edition #1513 New Dell Edition First printing -- July 1970

So there were definitely US editions prior to the movie. However, this doesn't really say one way or another if the earlier US title was Cotton or Return, but wouldn't they have noted the latter if it had been the one on the previous Dell (or Putnam) edition?


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