New York: Dodd, Mead and Company, 1929. Octavo, measuring 9.5 x 6 inches: , 222, . Original black pictorial cloth stamped in gilt, buff and black pictorial endpapers, original black pictorial dust jacket decorated in turquoise, fore-edge uncut. Twelve full-page black and white plates, black and white vignettes throughout text. Lightest rubbing and edgewear to boards, shallow chipping to jacket spine ends, light scattered foxing.
First American edition of this modern illustrated volume of William Congreve’s comedies, highlights of the Restoration stage. The equally-matched, sparring lovers Millamant and Mirabell in The Way of the World (1700) remain Congreve’s great legacy, taking their place in the comic tradition of Shakespeare’s Beatrice and Benedick and Austen’s Lizzy and Darcy: “let us be very strange and well bred. Let us be as strange as if we had been marry'ed a great while; and as well-bred as if we were not marry'ed at all.” John Kettelwell’s highly stylized illustrations recall the designs of Aubrey Beardsley. A very good copy.