London: Limited Editions Club [printed by The Fanfare Press], 1938. Beardsley, Aubrey; Derain, André. Limited Edition. Hardcover. No. 1101 of 1500, quarto size, 108 pp., signed by Andre Derain. Near Fine. Item #CNJL190
"Salomé" is one of the rare Symbolist dramas in British theatrical history and was widely called "decadent" upon its publication, an appellation Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) may have welcomed because of his view of decadence not only as a pleasurable way of life, but as a necessary precondition for a cultural renaissance.
Originally published in French in 1891, and later in English in 1894, the play was banned in London by the Lord Chamberlain's licensor of plays, on the basis that it was illegal to depict Biblical characters on the stage; the ban was not lifted until 1931 (n. b. from Wikipedia and John Stokes for The British Library). In addition to its controversy, "Salomé" is striking in its use of language, as Wilde mimics the cadence of Biblical text, with a musical repetition and simplistic beauty.
Aubrey Beardsley (1872-1898), a leading figure in the Aesthetic movement that also included Oscar Wilde, illustrated the first edition of the English version, with drawings in black ink that emphasise the grotesque and the erotic; the illustrations and text are reproduced here by The Fanfare Press. French painter and sculptor André Derain (1880-1954) provides illustrations for this Limited Editions Club edition of the French version, with gouache paintings painstakingly reproduced by pochoir on black paper by J. Saudé.
The English version has an introduction by British writer and noted bibliophile Holbrook Jackson (1874-1948), who provides an in-depth interpretation of the play and the historical and cultural context in which it was published.
___DESCRIPTION: The English version: Full red cloth with gilt title and illustration by Aubrey Beardsley on the front board, gilt lettering on the spine, fore- and bottom edges rough cut, title page with black-and-white illustration by Beardsley, sixteen black-and-white illustrations (including title page) by Beardsley, including four which were omitted from the first edition; monotype Bembo, Pannekoek paper, quarto size (11" by 8"), pagination: [1-10] 11-27 [28-30] 31-105 [106-108], one of 1500 copies, this number 1101. In Mylar wrapper.
The French version: Black paper wraps covered in plastic, pink and white lettering and grey ornaments on the front wrap, pink lettering and grey ornaments on the spine, fore- and bottom edges uncut, title page in black and brown, gouache paintings by Andre Derain, reproduced by pochoir on black paper, throughout; hand-set Peignot type, Arches paper, quarto size (11" by 8"), pagination: [1-8] 9-71 [72-73] [1 colophon], one of 1500 copies, this number 1101, signed by André Derain on the colophon.
Both volumes are housed together in a slipcase covered in burgundy paper with gilt lettering and the edition number 1101 written in pencil on the spine.
___CONDITION: The English version is fine; the covers clean, the corners straight and unrubbed, the binding tight with solid hinges, the interior clean and bright, and free of prior owner markings; some sunning to the spine, else fine. The Mylar wrapper is near fine, clean, with a few small creases, but otherwise without wear.
The French version is near fine, with clean wraps, straight corners without rubbing, a strong, square text block with solid hinges, the interior is clean and bright, and entirely free of prior owner markings; some wrinkling to the wraps, some off-setting from the illustrations and from the wraps onto the free endpapers; the plastic cover over the wraps has chips to the corners and to the head and tail of the spine, as well as some closed tears.
The slipcase is very good, strong and sturdy, clean overall with a few stray marks, some rubbing to the edges and to the head and tail of the spine, head of spine is gently bumped, and slight sunning to the edges of the opening.
___CITATION: LEC no. 104.
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