ALBEE, Edward Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? London: Jonathan Cape, 1964.
8vo. Original black cloth, embossed with author's name to upper board; spine lettered in gilt; mustard yellow endpapers; unclipped printed dust wrapper with a photograph of the author to the lower panel; pp. [xv], 4-242, [ii]; text block and boards essentially fine, with just some very light toning to edges and bumps to corners; dust wrapper toned and shelf-worn, with nicks, scratches, and rubbing to head and foot of spine, and one small chip to top edge at front; a very good copy nonetheless.
First edition, boldly signed by the playwright to the title page.
First staged in 1962, Albee’s psychological drama examines the intricacies of marriage, set against a backdrop of growing disillusionment which was occurring in the 60s, both in America and elsewhere. The title itself is a play on some graffiti which Albee saw scrawled on a mirror in a Greenwich Village bar one night in 1954:
“I was in there having a beer one night, and I saw “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” scrawled in soap, I suppose, on this mirror. When I started to write the play it cropped up in my mind again. And of course, who’s afraid of Virginia Woolf means who’s afraid of the big bad wolf . . . who’s afraid of living life without false illusions. And it did strike me as being a rather typical, university intellectual joke.” (Paris Review)
The 1966 film adaptation saw Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton in the title roles of Martha and George.