Salomé: A Tragedy in One Act
Beardsley, Aubrey. Hard Cover. London: John Lane, The Bodley Head, 1927. Near Fine.
Illustrated with sixteen black and white illustrations by Aubrey Beardsley. Introduction by Robert Ross. Later edition . Publisher's decorative red cloth designed by Beardsley, decorated with gilt art nouveau floral pattern. Near fine, with just a touch of wear to spine ends and corners, cloth and gilt extremely bright, some offsetting to endpapers, former owner's inscription to front free endpaper, clean interior without any toning or foxing. Overall, an exceptional copy. Salomé is a one-act play in which Oscar Wilde retells the Biblical story of the beheading of John the Baptist. In the play, Tetrarch Herod encourages his stepdaughter Salomé to perform the Dance of the Seven Veils as entertainment for his guests, with the promise that he would bequeath anything she desired. Although horrified when she asks for John the Baptist's head on a platter, Herod fulfils his promise to Salomé and murders the prophet. Originally published in French, Salomé was translated by Lord Alfred Douglas. This edition of Salomé is complimented by Beardsley's art nouveau illustrations; their grotesque beauty perfectly matches the plot. Although both artist and illustrator were leading members of the Aesthetic Movement, Wilde and Beardsley were not close friends. Indeed, introductory author Robert Ross remarks, "It is interesting that [Beardsley] should have found inspiration for his finest work in a play he never admired and by a writer he cordially disliked."