La Ballade de la geôle de reading [The Ballad of Reading Gaol]
(Paris), Falaize, (1952). An out-of-series copy of this bilingual edition of 3000 numbered copies of Wilde's poem, printed here with Camus' "L'Artiste en Prison," which delineates Wilde's journey from themes of ideal beauty to existential suffering. Inscribed by Camus (in French): "to Sylvestre,/ a remembrance of Iguape/ and with the friendly thoughts/ of Albert Camus." While context does not give explanation to the reference to Iguape, one of Camus' last stories, "The Growing Stone" -- the final story in Camus' last collection, Exile and the Kingdom -- is set in Iguape, Brazil. It has been said that this story is the clearest manifestation of Camus' ideals: in it, the protagonist sacrifices himself to help a friend, and behaves morally despite his own understanding of the absurdity of the world. Camus won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1957, the year Exile and the Kingdom was published, and the Prize committee cited his "clear-sighted earnestness [which] illuminates the problems of the human conscience in our times." As best we can tell, this is the first appearance in print of "L'Artiste en Prison," which was translated into English and published in Encounter magazine two years later. A very near fine copy in French wraps. Books inscribed by Camus are uncommon; the author died in 1960 in a car accident, at the age of 46. [#030104] $3,750

All books are first printings of first editions or first American editions unless otherwise noted.