Sophisticated by Success


“Success does not consist in never making mistakes but in never making the same one a second time.”

George Bernard Shaw

 


Frontispiece portraits of George Bernard Shaw after the bust by Rodin. Photographed portraits by Frederick H. Evans and Alvin Langdon Coburn. The front free endpaper inscribed “From Max Beerbohm for Holbrook Jackson 1908.”

The portraits of Bernard Shaw having been humorously altered in black ink and captioned Max Beerbohn. Beerbohm’s alterations to the portraits transform Shaw into an increasingly demonic figure and are captioned as follows: the frontispiece (after Rodin), “- showing how little, really, one nation can understand another”; the first portrait (unattributed), “awaiting the bugle call of life”; the second portrait (by Frederick H. Evans), “sophisticated* by success”; the third portrait (by Alvin Langdon Coburn), “the last Phase.” Included in the lot is a second, unaltered, copy of the same book.

 

*In Ancient Greece, σοφία (sophia) was the special insight of poets and prophets. This then became the wisdom of philosophers such as sophists. But their use of rhetoric to win arguments gave sophistication a derogatory quality.

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