WIDOWERS' HOUSES. A Comedy. First Acted by the Independent Theatre in London.
SHAW. GEORGE BERNARD.
Henry and Co. London. 1893.
FIRST EDITION. Octavo. Original blue buckram, lettered in gilt. Housed in a custom green cloth slipcase and chemise. Small bookplate to front pastedown, related bibiliographic material pasted to endpapers. Shaw's very scarce first play, published in an edition, according to Laurence, of "not more than 500" copies. It was not an overwhelming bestseller. Shaw wrote to John Lane (quoted in Laurence) that the publisher "never advertised it even once; and the sale, which was only effected by great perseverance & determination on the part of the purchasers, was 150 copies." When the publisher retired in December 1897, they ceded to Shaw 194 sets of unbound sheets, which Shaw claimed to have commissioned Sotheran & Co. to bind for him. "So few of these [in purple cloth] in the Sotheran binding have turned up, however, that it is unlikely Shaw had all of the copies bound; a considerable number must eventually have been pulped …" Copies in green cloth have been noted as well, with no clear evidence of priority.