(London: Leonard Smithers, 1898). 230 x 145 mm. (9 x 5 3/4"). 4 p.l., 31 leaves. Third Edition. No. 89 OF 99 COPIES, SIGNED BY WILDE.
Original linen (ivory-colored backstrip, plum-colored sides), gilt titling on flat spine, gilt vignette after Charles Ricketts on upper cover, top edge rough trimmed, other edges untrimmed. Housed in a later, fleece-lined burgundy silk clamshell box with vellum spine label. Mason 374. Spine faintly and uniformly sunned (with three tiny dark flecks), vague mottling to lower cover on ivory linen, little signs of use to corners and edges, two dots of glue residue (from previously affixed paper description) on blank recto of limitations leaf (with slight show-through on the verso), light freckled foxing to endpapers, but each of these defects minor, and, all in all, a very pleasing copy--with unworn joints and very clean text--of a book difficult to find in better condition.
Dubbed by Wilde the "Author's Edition" and appearing just two months after initial publication, this signed, strictly limited edition of "The Ballad of Reading Gaol" is the first printing of the work to acknowledge the author's real name. On our title page, the author is called "C. 3. 3." (a reference to his prisoner's number), just as he had been previously. But with the appearance of his signature on the limitation page, the author reveals his actual identity to the public for the first time in a printed edition. (Wilde's name would not actually be printed on copies of "Reading Gaol" until the seventh edition.) Our version is particularly sought after because of its signature and because of its small limitation. (ST12854)
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PJP Catalog: XMAS16.058