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The Prisoners of War. A Play in Three Acts.

Published: London: Chatto and Windus, 1925

Stock code: 61804

Price: £1,500

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First edition, first impression, hardback issue. With the author’s signed presentation inscription to the front free endpaper, “For my dear George ‘Conrad’, with my admiration & gratitude. Joe. Aug. 20 1925”. George Hayes (1888-1967), then a noted young Shakespearean actor, took the leading part of Ackerley’s alter ego, Captain Conrad, in the first production on 5 July 1925, a Sunday night performance at the Royal Court Theatre under the aegis of Phyllis Whitworth’s Three Hundred Club. Others in the cast included the actors Raymond Massey and Carleton Hobbs, and the designer James Whale, future director of The Bride of Frankenstein, while the audience included Hugh Walpole, T. E. Lawrence, John Lehmann and Siegfried Sassoon. Presenting the play under club conditions was a well-established way of evading the need for the Lord Chamberlain’s licence, and necessary for Ackerley’s daring work, the first twentieth-century play produced upon the London or Broadway stage to deal with homosexual desire.

Octavo. Original orange cloth, printed paper label to spine. With the supplied dust jacket. Some minor spotting to fore edge, terminal leaves lightly browned, spine faded title label tanned and rubbed but a very nice copy in the dust jacket with a couple of tears and a small chip to the lower panel.

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