"MY FORTUNE AGAINST AN EQUAL FORTUNE… THAT I WILL ACCOMPLISH ANY THREE TESTS YOU MAY SET ME"
GRAVES, Robert. John Kemp's Wager. A Ballad Opera. Oxford: Basil Blackwell, Publisher to the Shakespeare Head Press, 1925. Octavo, original half vellum, patterned boards, uncut and largely unopened. $600.
Signed limited first edition of Graves' first play, number 35 of only 100 uncut copies finely printed on Kelmscott handmade paper and signed by Robert Graves.
"Graves' ballad opera is set in an early 18th-century pre-industrial Merry England. The eponymous hero is a descendant of William Kemp, the comic actor and dancer who performed in plays by Shakespeare and Jonson before famously Morris dancing from London to Norwich, his written account of the feat being published as Kemps Nine Daies Wonder. In the play, John is the embodiment of village virtues: he sings folk songs, makes hobby-horses, earns his living as a wood carver, performs St. George in a local show, engages in Morris dancing and defeats all-comers in inter-village fisticuffs. In short, he exemplifies belonging" (Osborne, Radical Larkin, 127). This is Number 11 in the British Drama League Library of Modern British Drama. Without scarce original glassine, as often. Higginson A13b.
Interior clean, spine and board extremities lightly toned, foot of spine bumped. An uncut and unopened signed copy in extremely good condition.