“LEAVE MY BOOK, I BEG YOU, TO THE IMMORTALITY THAT IT DESERVES”: FIRST EDITION OF THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY
WILDE, Oscar. The Picture of Dorian Gray. London, New York and Melbourne: Ward Lock, . Octavo, original half vellum, gilt-lettered beveled gray paper-covered boards, uncut. Housed in a custom clamshell box.
First edition of Wilde’s only novel, considered by many to be his greatest work.
Wilde insists in his Preface, “There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written. That’s all.” When critics attacked the work for its immorality, Wilde responded, “Leave my book, I beg you, to the immortality that it deserves” (Mason 328). Dorian Gray first appeared in Lippincott’s simultaneously in Philadelphia and London, on June 20, 1890. This publication was immediately followed by publication of an unauthorized, pirated version of the tale, printed June 22, 1890 in New York by M. J. Ivers & Co. Wilde then substantially revised the work and added six new chapters; this scarce first authorized trade edition saw publication in April, 1891. Title page, half title and cover designed by Charles Ricketts, who provided illustrations and cover designs for many of Wilde’s works. Ellman, 314. Mason 328. Armorial bookplate.
Interior fine. Expert restoration to spine tail, joints and corners, not affecting gilt title. Usual light soiling to vellum spine. An excellent copy.