Item #5029 Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Edward Albee.

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Easton Press, 2007. Illustrated by Alan Phillips. Collector's Edition. Full leather. Fine - As New / No Jacket as Issued. Item #5029

Fine+/As New condition with no flaws. A handsome dark brown full leather Collector's Edition of Edward Albee's classic work, signed by him on the signature page.

The year of publication of this book is unclear: the copyright page indicates the year 1990, the copy of the Certificate of Authenticity (included) indicates Mr. Albee signed it in 2006, and we received it in 2007. Nonetheless a beautiful copy of Albee's masterpiece, with gold gilt cover designs and page edges, moire silk endpapers and bound-in silk bookmark. In fine unread condition opened for this listing and then rewrapped. Also includes the publisher's Note from Easton Press. Easton Press publications are bound for decades of use and durability.

The 1962 Broadway play ignited controversy from its inception and earned Albee the prestigious Pulitzer Prize. Critics, though divided, acknowledged its provocative nature, with one lamenting its simultaneous attraction and repulsion, while another, in close proximity to the Pulitzer Prize board, denounced it as "filthy". The narrative, unflinching in its portrayal of an unhappy marriage, unfolds across three acts: "Fun and Games," "Walpurgisnacht" (Night of the Witches), and concludes with "The Exorcism."

The subsequent black-and-white film adaptation achieved unprecedented popularity, nearing the million-dollar mark, an extraordinary feat for its time. This success led to its global dissemination, with productions staged in major cities such as Tokyo, Berlin, and Paris. Despite critical acclaim and literary endorsement, the play's exploration of dark themes, notably its perceived "vulgarity" encompassing sex, substance abuse, and profanity, stirred controversy.

When Warner Brothers acquired the play rights for half a million dollars in 1964, it ignited debates on American censorship, prompting challenges to prevailing regulatory bodies such as the Production Code Administration and the Legion of Decency. The studio, seeking commercial viability while navigating societal sensibilities, proposed the removal of numerous profanities and anatomical references from the script. However, the finalized film, featuring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, retained much of the original controversial content, thereby challenging the constraints of its era.

Albee, defending his work against accusations of vulgarity and poor taste, elucidated its multi-layered nature, inviting audiences to engage with its complexities beyond surface realism. Within the seemingly mundane domestic setting lies a tapestry of existential themes, including the interplay between masculine and feminine archetypes, the tension between progress and destruction, and the generational conflict symbolized by the characters of Martha, George, Nick, and Honey. Beneath the facade of a dinner party lies an unexpected narrative of horror.

The enigmatic title, "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" recurs within the play, inviting myriad interpretations. Some discern allusions to virginity/innocence and predation/exploitation, while others delve into existential inquiries regarding reality versus illusion and the existential fear of mortality. Albee himself traced the title's origin to a Greenwich Village bar, where it appeared as graffiti, symbolizing the fear of confronting life without comforting illusions.

Albee's correspondence with Leonard Woolf, husband of Virginia Woolf, reveals a nuanced connection between the play and Woolf's literary exploration of marital discord. Woolf's own commentary on marriage resonates with the themes depicted in Albee's work, further intertwining their narratives. In a letter to Albee, Leonard Woolf refers to Virginia's own "Lappin and Lapinova," a short story where a deeply unhappy couple create an illusory world where they live as rabbits. Very David Lynch.

For deeper insights into the intertwined legacies of Albee and Woolf, Natania Rosenfield's "Outsiders Together: Virginia and Leonard Woolf" and William Flanagan's "The Art of Theater No. Edward Albee" offer invaluable resources for enthusiasts of both writers. Albee lived in an incredible 6,000-square-foot loft that served as a former cheese warehouse in a popular NYC neighborhood.

Price: $210.00  other currencies