THE LETTERS OF OSCAR WILDE by Rupert- Ed. Hart-Davis


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This is the first major collection of Oscar Wilde's correspondence, and it includes 1098 letters (some 200 of little worth have been discarded) to his family, his friends and the many luminaries of his acquaintance. The editor has prepared this volume with great care, indicating the provenance of the letters, correcting where necessary, providing amplifying material in extensive footnotes, so that this book will be valuable, even though many of the letters are trivial, to ""fix a fact, a date or an address"". The letters begin with his years at Oxford and his academic triumphs, continue with his life in London, his travels-lecturing- in America, his stay in Reading jail and finally the last three years on the continent. Many of them are no more than courteous formalities; even so they are always free and volatile and there is the expected winning phrase (""My pen is horrid, my ink bad, my temper worse""). One would assume that a very important facet of this correspondence is the almost 100 page inset from Reading to ""the gay, gilt and gracious lad"", Lord Alfred Douglas, part of which was to form Profundis.... Not for the casual reader, but an important book which will have lasting value.

Pub Date: Oct. 24th, 1962
Publisher: Harcourt, Brace & World