The Ballad of Reading Gaol. By Oscar Wilde. Illustrated by Zhenya Gay. Illustrated Edition. Heritage Press. New York, 1937.

$45.00

In 1895, Oscar Wilde was imprisoned because of his suspected homosexual relationships. He spent two years persecuted in the Reading Gaol prison of Berkshire, England. During his time there, he witnessed the hanging of Charles Thomas Woolridge, a fellow inmate, an event that became the catalyst for “The Ballad of Reading Gaol”. The poem describes the hanging, using it as a focal point to criticize the brutality of prison and the sufferings of all inmates. It was first published in 1898 under the pseudonym “CC3” which stands for “cell block C, landing 3, cell 3”–Wilde’s inmate identification. The early editions sold miraculously well despite the ambiguous authorship, and it has since become Wilde’s most famous poem. An excerpt from the poem was chosen as his epitaph, reading, “And alien tears will fill for him,/ Pity’s long-broken urn,/ For his mourners will be outcast men,/ And outcasts always mourn.” In this illustrated edition, Wilde’s lines are paired with Zhenya Gay’s full-page lithographs. It is a remarkable rendition of the text with illustrations that match the somber tone.

This illustrated edition is in fine condition. In the original faux leather boards, finely stamped with a jail brick pattern. Text block fine. Edges dyed red. Gay’s illustrations superb. With the publisher’s original Sandglass pamphlet laid in. With the original slipcase, good with tears and chips.

A fine collector’s copy of The Ballad of Reading Gaol.

1 in stock

Description

The Ballad of Reading Gaol. By Oscar Wilde. Illustrated by Zhenya Gay. Illustrated Edition. Heritage Press. New York, 1937.

Additional Information provides shipping weight and dimensions.

Additional information

Weight 5 lbs
Dimensions 16 × 10 × 6 in