Hard Cover. New York: The Viking Press, 1958. First Edition. Very Good / Dust Jacket Included.
Illustrated with black and white photographs. First edition, first printing. Presentation copy, inscribed on front free endpaper from Oppenheimer to Dorothy Parker: "To Dorothy / With gratitude, love / and the hope that / she will like being / in here as much as / I like having her / in a book of mine. / Always, / George." Publisher's lavender boards, front board lettered and ruled in purple, spine with gilt lettering on purple label, and purple topstain; original pictorial dust jacket designed by Robert Hallock, lettered in white, blue, and pink. Very good with light toning to spine ends and board edges, light fraying to spine ends, and minor wear to lower corners; good unclipped dust jacket with chipping to spine ends, front flap detached (but present), chipping to rear panel corners and a chip to rear flap fore edge, light edgewear including a few small closed tears and a small chip to top of rear panel, and minor soiling to rear panel, unfaded panels and spine that present nicely. Overall, a bright example with a wonderful association. In his introduction to the book, theater critic George Oppenheimer describes The Passionate Playgoer as "a contradiction in terms...an anthology, a compendium, an omnibus of other people's work, and yet it is completely personal." He goes on to write, "This is a book by and about people and plays that I knew, or admired so extravagantly that I thought I knew them." The people that this book is "by and about" are some of the great luminaries of the Golden Age of American theater, including Tennessee Williams, Ethel Barrymore, Alexander Woollcott, Lillian Hellman, Elia Kazan, Richard Rodgers, DuBose Heyward, and many more. This copy is inscribed by Oppenheimer to his longtime friend, the writer Dorothy Parker. An important poet and critic, Parker published a number of works at the Viking Press, which Oppenheimer co-founded with Harold Guinzburg. Notably, Oppenheimer wrote a play titled Here Today (1932), whose main character, Mary Hilliard, was based on Parker. In this volume, he includes two pieces by Parker - "The Actress," a poem first published in Parker's poetry collection Death and Taxes (1931), and her 1919 Vanity Fair review of the theatrical show The Jest. Item #DP017