"BUT THE KING WILL LIVE": FIRST EDITION OF FOR LOVE OF THE KING, 1922
(WILDE, Oscar) COSGROVE, Mabel. For Love of the King; A Burmese Masque. London: Methuen, (1922). Octavo, original gilt-stamped ivory cloth, top edge gilt, uncut, original dust jacket. $950.
First edition of this notorious play falsely attributed to Oscar Wilde, one of 1000 copies printed on handmade paper.
The Introductory Note claims that Wilde wrote this work in 1894 "as a personal gift to the author's friend and friend of his family, Mrs. Chan Toon," otherwise known as Mabel Cosgrove (who was married to the nephew of the king of Burma). Methuen, who had published some of Wilde's other works, published it in this lovely edition, but also included it as a supplement to their edition of Wilde's collected works. However, shortly after publication, Wilde bibliographer Christopher Millard (who wrote under the nom de plume "Stuart Mason") sued the publisher for trying to pass off to the public this work as Wilde's. It is believed that Cosgrove herself wrote the manuscript and gave it to Methuen & Co. (she had previously tried to pass off several spurious Wilde letters to Millard). There was a large scandal, with the book being supported by such evidence as Wilde's endorsement from beyond the grave, as communicated through a medium. After the lawsuit, Methuen never published this work again. Contemporary notation on rear pastedown.
Book with tape residue to endpapers and toning to extremities of original cloth, dust jacket with slightest soiling and light wear and toning to extremities. An extremely good copy.