The Importance of Being Earnest.
A trivial comedy for serious people by the author of Lady Windermere's Fan.London, Leonard Smithers and Co, 1899 Stock Code: 131001
NotesFirst edition of Wilde's comic masterpiece, one of 1,000 regular issue copies, of which this is number 49. Wilde's last and greatest play opened to huge acclaim on Valentine's Day 1895 but was withdrawn after Wilde's failed libel suit against Lord Queensbury led to his arrest.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".
Quarto. Finely bound by the Chelsea Bindery in purple morocco, titles to spine gilt, decorative leaves blocked to boards in imitation of the original cover, inner dentelles gilt, decorative endpapers, top edge gilt, others untrimmed.
Some occasional light spotting, an excellent copy in a fine binding.
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