[London]: The Modern Press, 1886. Large octavo (23.5 x 15 cm). Original printed wrapper. Wrapper slightly hand-soiled, 3.5 cm loss at foot of spine, smaller loss at crown, otherwise a very good copy of this fragile book. Half morocco slipcase and chemise. Item #WRCLIT88514
First printing in book form of Shaw's first novel, printed from the corrected and revised stereos of it's serialization in the April 1885-March 1886 issues of TO-DAY. Booksellers objected that copies in this format were difficult to display, and consequently many copies, such as that in hand, were trimmed to accommodate their demands, in the course of which the original preliminary blank was transferred to the rear. With Shaw's slightly later inscription on the title-page: "This is the first reprint from the plates made from the pages of the magazine To-Day. The bookstalls would not stock it because it was not the right size for their counters. It did not take off until it got into the hands of the pirates who kept it going for years. It may be going still for all I know, as I never succeeded in recapturing the plates. G. Bernard Shaw." The piracies Shaw references were the US printings issued by George Munro (June 1886, in the Seaside Library), Harper & Brothers in 1886, and Brentanos in 1899. Laid in is a typed note, signed with initials ("F. S. B."): "When in London, in the late summer of 1914, whither I had gone from Bordeau, after getting M. Georges Clemenceau to prepare an article for the S.E.P. [i.e. SATURDAY EVENING POST], I visited several famous authors, including Mr. H.G. Welles [sic], John Masefield, Poet Lauriat [sic], and Mr Shaw, whose Firsts I had long collected. Mr. Shaw received me in his rooms overlooking the Thames and inscribed several of the Firsts that I brought to him. He was particularly interested in this edition of Cashel Byron's Profession and was amused to hear my account of seeing James J. Corbett, Ex-Champion, in the title-role ...." The referenced article by Clemenceau was likely "The Cause of France," which appeared in the 24 October 1914 issue of the SEP. LAURENCE A3.