The Importance of Being Earnest (Signed Limited Edition)
London: Leonard Smithers and Co., 1899.
London: Leonard Smithers and Co., 1899. First edition. One of just 12 copies, prepared by the publisher for presentation in a full vellum binding and printed upon Japanese vellum pages. SIGNED by the author on the limitation page. A Near Fine copy with minor discoloration/soiling to outer boards. Internal contents are clean and likely unread with some pages still uncut.
A true rarity to market, the only copy in recent auction history sold for $70,500 (Christies, 2001).
Wilde's comedic masterpiece, a social satire, attempts to "treat all trivial things in life very seriously, and all serious things of life with a sincere and studied triviality." The importance of this work can hardly be overstated. As a comedic play, it is second only to Shakespeare. First performed on the stage in 1895, it received much critical acclaim and public approbation, but its run was short-lived. Shortly after opening, Wilde entered into legal battles which ultimately led to his imprisonment and subsequent exile to Paris. As a result, he would produce no other comic or dramatic work. To this day, Wilde's dialogues and word play in "The Importance of Being Earnest" continue to inspire and amuse audiences worldwide. A signed, limited edition of 100 copies was produced, and most collectors vie for that edition, when one becomes available, but this copy, one of 12 and intended for presentation, is really the crème-de-la-crème for any Wilde aficionado. Housed in a custom chemise with slipcase. Additional images available upon request. Near Fine (Item #531)