Presented by Pom Harrington, owner of Peter Harrington Rare Books.
First edition, signed limited issue, number 40 of 100 large paper copies signed by the author. The Importance of Being Earnest, Wilde’s last play, opened to great acclaim on Valentine’s Day 1895 but was withdrawn after Wilde’s failed libel suit against Lord Queensbury led to his arrest.
The subsequent “utter social destruction of Wilde” (ODNB) meant that the play was not published in book form until February 1899, after Wilde’s release from prison. Richard Ellmann comments that Smithers’s handsome editions of Earnest and An Ideal Husband “brought Wilde a little money”. The play was issued in a standard edition of 1,000 copies, this large paper edition and twelve copies on vellum, most of which the author presented to his friends.
UPDATE BOOK SOLD