BEERBOHM, MAX Autograph Manuscript for The Happy Hypocrite.
The original manuscript, notated "To the type-writer" with instructions regarding line breaks etc.; the complete text with extensive additions, reworkings and excisions, all entirely in Beerbohm's hand in black ink (and with notations in red chalk for new paragraphs etc.). Circa 1896, as published in The Yellow Book, Volume XI, October 1896 (pp. 11-44). Bound in full dark green morocco by MacDonald of New York, likely 1920s or before, housed in cloth box. 12 7/8 x 8 inches (32.5 x 20.25 cm); 53 foolscap leaves with 54 pp. of text (one leaf with text verso and recto), and with drawings (most in pencil), a few in pen, to some of the versos. Dust soiling to first sheet and other stray stains, minor fraying to edges of a few sheets.
The manuscript for Beerbohm's first published fiction, a seminal work of the English 1890s. Beerbohm's witty fable of Lord George Hell and his reformation (subtitled in the first separate edition "A Fairy Tale for Tired Men") follows a similar narrative trajectory to Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray, published a few years earlier. It skewers its predecessor most effectively, while at the same time providing a story that is amusing and even affecting. The denouement is clever and thoroughly Wildean, and the tale is far more than a mere parody, which explains its enduring appeal. It was separately published by John Lane the year following the first appearance, and (rarely out of print since) has been reissued many times and in many forms subsequently. It has been dramatized at least twice (first with Mrs. Patrick Campbell as the female lead, in 1900), and has even been turned into an opera.
The text in the present manuscript appears identical to that in the Yellow Book, based on a preliminary survey, with all of Beerbohm's changes and annotations accurately reflected. We do not know of any extant preliminary drafts, and indeed the many alterations on these pages suggest that the text emerged full-blown, without too much in the way of preamble. Portions are edited out in black ink, and new passages are interpolated in side-bars. As stated earlier, red chalk notations were added by Beerbohm to indicate new paragraphs etc. (a point which he indicates in his notes on the first leaf). A notable aspect of this manuscript, which is written on 53 foolscap sheets (apparently originally separate), are the drawings on the versos of the text. We note ten leaves so annotated, the designs ranging from rough sketches of hands (always a feature with which Beerbohm had difficulties) to fully accomplished drawings in ink, one of which (with crayon heightening) appears to be of the protagonist Lord George Hell, and another which may be a caricature of Lord Salisbury. Sold at Anderson Galleries, May 24, 1907, lot 53; we do not note any subsequent appearances at auction. The binding appears not to have been present in 1907, but was likely added in the 1920s.
C The Estate of Sara Roosevelt Wilford
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