BOOK INSCRIBED BY THE WICKED WITCH OF ENGLISH THEATRE American HELEN HUNTINGTON / HELEN GRANVILLE-BARKER Second Wife & Ruination of HARLEY GRANVILLE-BARKER
THE SOVEREIGN GOOD. A Novel by HELEN HUNTINGTON (aka HELEN GRANVILLE-BARKER). Published by G. P. Putnam's Sons, New York and London, 1908. First edition.
INSCRIBED by the AUTHOR on the front free-endpaper: "To Mrs. J.T.B. Hillhouse / With the / affectionate regards / of the author."
Hardcover Book, blue cloth covered boards with gilt titles and designs on the front cover and spine, 5x7.5 inches. Pagination: iv, 386 pages, plus 4 pages of Publisher's ads at the rear.
VERY GOOD condition: a bit of wear to the corner tips and spine ends, a previous owner's name/address at the top of the rear free-endpaper, otherwise a solid, tight, clean copy with cover gilt that is bright and lovely. One of the nicest copies of this book I have seen, and it's inscribed by the author!
WHY HELEN HUNTINGTON aka HELEN GRANVILLE-BARKER is THE WICKED WITCH OF ENGLISH THEATRE:
Helen Granville-Barker, b.? d.1950, was a third rate playwright, poet and novelist, mostly remembered for being the second wife and ruination of Harley Granville-Barker who was the great hope of British theatre.
"No history of British theatre would be complete without the acknowledgement of Harley Granville Barker's importance as playwright, director, producer, actor, essayist and theatre visionary in the first decades of the twentieth century. However, after the First World War he abandoned the professional theatre, and the prime culprit for this abandonment was his American second wife, Helen Huntington. A rich dilettante, third rate poet and second rate novelist, Helen, it is claimed, seduced Barker and turned him into a reclusive, snobbish country gentleman. Her visceral hatred of the theatre and all theatre people forced him to withdraw from lifelong friends and colleagues, thus cutting himself off from his true nature and his true talent. To complete all this horror, she even made her new husband add a hyphen to their name to assuage her own crass aristocratic ambitions. And so, Helen - perhaps unconsciously, but always selfishly - all but single handedly destroyed the great hope of the British theatre." - U.K. Times Literary Supplement.
"Graville-Barker's second wife insisted on his almost complete severance from his work and friends in the theatre, and above all from Shaw, whom she detested. It was mutual: Shaw thought that Granville-Barker had buried himself alive on her account." - Oxford English Dictionary of National Biography