“THE SUCCESSOR OF SOPHOCLES AND SHAKESPEARE”
PHILLIPS, Stephen. Poems. WITH: Ulysses. WITH: Paolo and Francesca. New York: John Lane; Macmillan, 1905-07. Three volumes. Contemporary three-quarter burgundy morocco gilt, elaborately gilt-decorated spines, raised bands, marbled boards and endpapers, top edges gilt. $300.
Later editions of Poems and two plays by Phillips, uniformly bound by Macdonald.
Phillips, a relative of the Wordsworths, studied classics at Cambridge but opted to become an actor rather than taking a degree. He first published Poems in 1898. “The success of the volume, which was ‘crowned’ by The Academy journal, revived Phillips’ ambition to write poetic drama; and for the next ten years this was his chief occupation… Phillips gained a stupendous reputation as a dramatic poet. Delays in the staging of his Paolo and Francesca, commissioned by Sir George Alexander in 1898, allowed it to be applauded first as a printed book (1900)… When Paolo and Francesca was at last performed (1902), the author was greeted as the successor of Sophocles and Shakespeare” (DNB). The play Ulysses was first performed in 1902.
Interiors fine, extremities of all three volumes lightly rubbed. A handsome set in near-fine condition.