London: Leonard Smithers and Co, 1899. First and Limited Edition. Hardcover. First printing, one of 1000 copies, octavo size, 168 pp. Very good +. Item #210503037
Oscar Wilde (1854-1900), known for his lively wit and fashionable dress, became one of the best-known personalities in London, and his works are still read and performed today. He wrote brilliant plays such as "Salome", "Lady Windermere's Fan", and "An Ideal Husband", as well as his only novel, "The Picture of Dorian Gray".
He is perhaps best known for this play, "The Importance of Being Earnest", a lively comedy filled with babies lost in suitcases and romance. The play's "major themes are the triviality with which it treats institutions as serious as marriage, and the resulting satire of Victorian ways" (n.b., per Wiki) and, as with all good romance stories, has a happy ending. First produced in London on Valentine's Day, 1895, there have been countless stage productions as well as three different adaptations to the screen, the most recent in 2002, which included material cut in the initial stage production.
This the first printing of the first edition, and is bound in a manner uniform with the two comedies previously published at Wilde's insistence.
___DESCRIPTION: Bound in full aubergine linen over boards, gilt decorations by Charles Shannon on both boards and spine, gilt lettering on the spine, fore- and bottom edges uncut, tasteful Ex-Libris on the front pastedown, the same name written in black ink in a flowing hand with "/05" (presumably the date) on the top of the front free endpaper, limitation size 1000 copies; octavo size (8.5" by 6.5"), pagination: [i-xvi] 1-152.
___CONDITION: Better than very good, the boards mostly clean with the gilt decorations bright, the corners gently bumped but without rubbing, a strong, square text block with solid hinges, the interior is clean and bright, and the sole prior owner markings we see those mentioned above; sunning to the spine, some bubbling to the cloth on the front board, and toning to the endpapers. Even with these minor issues a lovely example of one of Wilde's most endearing works.
___CITATION: Mason no. 381.
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