WILDE, Oscar.

The Ballad of Reading Gaol. By C.3.3.

London: Leonard Smithers, 1899 Stock Code: 144053
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Leonard Smithers's pirated edition, with Wilde's name in square brackets to the title page, and line 17 on page 15 printed as: "And loud they sang, and loud they sang", as in his last authorized edition of 1899. Wilde published this work under the pseudonym "C.3.3." after his cell in Reading Gaol (cell 3 on the third landing of Gallery C).

The first edition, published by Smithers in 1898, sold out rapidly, and a second edition was printed within weeks. After Wilde's death Smithers began publishing unauthorised editions of his works on laid paper, from stereotyped plated, with his address suppressed. These were continuously printed with the title page dated 1899 until Smithers's death in December 1907.

Provenance: purchased by book dealer and co-founder of the Society for Theatre Research Ifan Kyrle Fletcher from Francis Edwards bookdealers in 1960, with his neat pencil note recording the purchase on the front pastedown. 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. Original white cloth-backed orange cloth, spine lettered in gilt, edges untrimmed.


Sunday Times clipping headed "Oscar Wilde's Last Days" and dated 30 November 1930 in manuscript to front pastedown. Spine faintly browned and a little creased, a couple of marks to cloth, very light foxing to endpapers, contents clean; a very good copy.


Mason 584.


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