Published in 1968, Slouching Towards Bethlehem is Joan Didion’s first work of nonfiction. Titled after a line in W.B. Yeat’s poem “The Second Coming”, the collection of essays originally written for magazines is about her experiences in California during the 1960s.
The typographic jacket for the first edition by FSG is the work of Lawrence Ratzkin. He used Profil, a contoured and shaded all-caps Clarendon. Originally issued as metal type by Haas in 1947, this is a phototype version that was distorted by means of optical effects. The lines bend toward the right, with fanned-out letterforms, creating a sense of motion. The book’s interior was designed by Guy Fleming, using Palatino – just like for The White Album, her other important essay collection from 1979.