LITHUANIA. A Drama in one act. Rupert Brooke.

LITHUANIA. A Drama in one act.

[Chicago:] The Chicago Little Theatre, 1915. Original pictorial wrappers.

First Edition of Rupert Brooke's only play, considered (by Keynes among others) to have consisted of only 200 copies. Before the war young Brooke wrote this play, never expecting it to be performed (a stranger gets lost in rural Lithuania and stops for the night at a hut where there's this farmer's daughter...). However it was in fact produced at The Chicago Little Theatre, and this booklet was published, in October 1915 (six months after Brooke had died of sepsis while part of the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force en route to Gallipoli).

This experimental art theatre had been founded in 1912 by the British poet Maurice Browne and his wife Ellen Van Volkenburg (the American actress "Nelly Van"); they had been encouraged to do so by Lady Augusta Gregory, and thus tried to model it after Dublin's Abbey Theatre. Forty-four plays would be produced in its tiny fourth-floor quarters (25 of them American premieres). Theodore Dreiser, Edgar Lee Masters, John Cowper Powys, and even a young Robert Frost all assisted it in various ways. However it would survive only until 1917 (the theatre had an anti-war stance, which became unpopular once America joined the war); following bankruptcy, Browne returned to England as a stage producer, and Van Volkenburg went on tour with a successful stage career in America.

This play was performed just once in London, at His Majesty's Theatre in May 1916; the play was not published in England until 1935, at which time John Drinkwater, who had played the part of the "Young Man," wrote its Prefatory Note.

The cover design and tail-piece are by C. Raymond Johnson, who did other Chicago Little Theatre art as well. This is a clean, just-about-fine copy (minor ruffling of the wrapper's yapped edges, as one would expect). Keynes 38. Housed in a slipcase with leather label, plus inner chemise which bears the armorial bookplate of David C. Titus. Item #14541

Price: $475.00

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