FIRST APPEARANCE OF THE KINGDOM OF EARTH, ONE OF ONLY 100 COPIES SIGNED BY TENNESSEE WILLIAMS AND INTENDED FOR HIS PRIVATE DISTRIBUTION
WILLIAMS, Tennessee. The Kingdom of Earth with Hard Candy. A Book of Stories. Hartford, [New York]: New Directions, (1954). Tall octavo, original half brown cloth, original slipcase. $3200.
Signed limited edition, published the same year as the first edition and including the story “The Kingdom of Earth,” not included in the trade edition, number 17 of only 100 numbered copies (out of a total of approximately 135), signed on the copyright page by Tennessee Williams.
One of four collections of short fiction by Tennessee Williams. At the time the first edition of Hard Candy was published, Tennessee Williams wanted to include Kingdom of Earth, a story about "relations among a dying transvestite, his sluttish bride, and his brother" (Hart, 831). However, his publisher, fearing an obscenity-based backlash, encouraged him to accept a compromise. Eventually Williams agreed to publish the first edition of this collection without Kingdom of Earth, but demanded that a special signed limited edition including the story be published that same year. Thus, this signed limited edition uses the original sheets from the first edition of Hard Candy, but bears a cancel title page with a signed limitation statement on the verso and contains Kingdom of Earth at the end. While the limitation page claims that 100 copies of this work were published, that number is believed to refer to the number of copies intended for Williams' own private distribution, of which this copy is number 17. Approximately 35 additional copies, some signed, were published for the use of the publisher, but those are all believed to contain various non-numeric notations on the limitation page. Most of the original 100 copies were later destroyed, making this the rarest of Williams' works. Crandell A13.I.b. Owner signature in yellow felt pen.
Text fresh with only tiny bit of spotting to one leaf (227-8), expert repair to inner paper hinges, faintest edge-wear to boards; expert archival repair to slipcase. A highly desirable extremely good copy.