WILDE, OSCAR. The Importance of Being Earnest. A Trivial Comedy for Serious People. London: Smithers, 1899. Small 4to, original violet cloth, gilt decorations on spine and sides, spine gilt-lettered, designed by Charles Shannon, unopened, some slight soiling and rubbing; purple half morocco slipcase. FIRST EDITION, ONE OF 100 LARGE-PAPER COPIES SIGNED BY WILDE (this no. 58). Mason 382. A very good copy.
WILDE, OSCAR. Autograph note signed ("Oscar Wilde") to "Dear Sir," 16 Tite Street, Chelsea, n.d., 1 page, 8vo, tipped with the following two letters into the above copy, briefly giving an address: "My agent's address is G.W. Appleton, 8 Clifford Inn, Fleet St..." -- ROSS, ROBERT. Autograph letter signed TO OSCAR WILDE, London, 1 October 1900, 2 pages, 8vo, some staining, on Reform Club stationery: "I enclose your belated cheque for 17.10. I am sending you also the Cornhill Magazine for October, containing the work of an artisan [probably Ross himself]. The artist [Wilde] is expected to acknowledge the former [the cheque], but is requested not to mention the latter. I daresay you may know that Lady Windermere is coming in at Kensington with Marion Terry... The Importance of Being Earnest was being played this summer at Brighton with great success... I am told a great many things about Frank Wilde's play [i.e., Frank Harris's, who had written Mr. and Mrs. Daventry pretending that it was by Wilde]. I hope you will be in Paris at the end of the month when I come..." Ross, Wilde's great friend and the dedicatee of The Importance of Being Earnest, made a regular allowance to Wilde during his exile after his having been released from prison. Wilde died on 30 November 1900 in Ross's presence -- ALEXANDER, Sir GEORGE (actor-manager, producer of The Importance of Being Earnest). Autograph letter signed to J.T. Grein (critic and producer who gave Ibsen and Shaw their first London productions), Brighton, n.d., 3½ pages, 8vo, entirely about The Importance of Being Earnest: "...All that is nonsense about the third act being written under stress of circumstance. The play was submitted to me many months before its actual production and was in 4 acts... When Wilde was there [in Holloway Jail] later he sent me a piece of paper... 'Please admit my kind warder & his wife to my clever play. Oscar Wilde.' I got him to reduce the play into three acts..." (4)