London: Chatto & Windus, 1964. 1st Edition. Small octavo, publisher’s teal cloth, spine stamped in silver, original illustrated dust jacket.
"I feel as if we had been actors in a play, and there must be some exchange between us for the drama to be complete." First edition of Anglo-Irish novelist and philosopher Iris Murdoch’s dramatization of her fifth novel, adapted with "the last great man of English letters," J. B. Priestley. Regarded as the most entertaining of Murdoch’s novels, A Severed Head presents a bourgeois coterie’s discussions around adultery, incest, castration, among other Freudian conundrums. Murdoch met Priestley when they were both featured on a BBC program in the 1950s, and the pair quickly became friends. Revered for his theater work during the interwar period when he dominated the London stage, Priestley enthusiastically offered his help in Murdoch’s adaptation of her dark satire. The play opened at the Theatre Royal in Bristol in May of 1963 and was a major success. The production was relocated to London one month later, where it ran for over 1000 performances. Fine in price-clipped dust jacket. Item #5645