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WILDE, Oscar.

Salomé. Drame en un acte.

Paris & London: Librairie de l'Art Independant; Elkin Mathews & John Lane, 1893 Stock Code: 143964
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First edition, one of 600 trade copies, beautifully bound by Roger de Coverly (1831-1914), the London binder under whom T. J. Cobden Sanderson trained, his binder's stamp on the front free endpaper verso. A further 50 copies were issued on Van Gelder handmade paper. Salomé was composed by Wilde in French and was not published in English until the following year.

Rehearsals for the play began in 1892, with the world-famous Sarah Bernhardt cast in the starring role. Wilde was infatuated with Bernhardt and wrote Salomé especially with her in mind. He later declared: "The three women I have most admired in my life are Sarah Bernhardt, Lily Langtry, and Queen Victoria. I would have married any one of them with pleasure." Rehearsals were halted, however, when the English theatrical censor banned the production of Salomé on the grounds that it was illegal to depict Biblical characters on stage.

Provenance: purchased by book dealer and co-founder of the Society for Theatre ResearchIfan Kyrle Fletcher, with his neat pencil notes on the first blank. Sold by Fletcher to Helen Hambro, née Boyson (1936-2004), an editorial assistant for the Society's Theatre Notebook, and bought from the Hambro estate.

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Octavo (200 x 145 mm). Finely bound in citron morocco by Roger de Coverly, original purple wrappers bound in, titles and foliate motif to spine in gilt in compartments, 5 raised bands ruled in blind and gilt, frame ruled in gilt with single floral motif cornerpieces to covers, board edges and turn-ins ruled in gilt, marbled endpapers, top edge gilt, others untrimmed.


Spine faintly toned, minor rubbing to extremities, light offsetting to endpapers, a little foxing to outer leaves else contents clean, a very good and notably attractive copy.


Mason 348.


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