New York: Random House, 1962. First American edition. Octavo, original paper boards, black cloth spine, blue top-edge, uncut, original dust jacket. Fine. Item #1014
"FRIEND, BE NOT AFRAID OF YOUR OFFICE. YOU SEND ME TO GOD"
First American edition of Robert Bolt's classic drama about the Martyrdom of Thomas More—published a year after the first British edition. A handsome copy.
After a moderately successful run in London's West End, A Man for All Seasons debuted on Broadway in New York on November 22, 1961 with Paul Scofield repeating the role of More. The Broadway production was very successful and ran for over a year and netted Scofield a 1962 Tony award for Best Actor. The 1966 film adaptation—again with Scofield—garnered six Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay (for Bolt) and Best Actor (for Scofield).
With Bolt's Preface (dated, "September 1960") with a lengthy "explanation and apology for treating Thomas More, a Christian saint, as a hero of selfhood." More "knew where he began and left off, what area of himself he could yield to the encroachments of his enemies, and what to the encroachments of those he loved." The text is preceded by two epigraphs, including a quote by Samuel Johnson: "He was the person of the greatest virtue these islands ever produced." A more modest edition (bound in paper boards with no dust jacket) was first published in London by Heineman in 1961. This edition was published as "A Random House Play," illustrated with a frontispiece and two additional photographs from the New York production.