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Typescript of the suppressed portion 'De - WILDE, OSCAR - 1905. [1277089]
98 pages n.d.[after 1905], n.p. - An early typescript of those parts of Wilde's cri de coeurITALS, written during his incarceration in Reading Gaol to his sometime lover and - ultimately - nemesis Lord Alfred `Bosie' Douglas, which were suppressed by Robert Ross at the time of its first publication by Methuen in 1905. It is difficult to definitively fit the present typescript into the jigsaw of copies made of the manuscript of Wilde's final major work but Wilde's grandson, Merlin Holland, ventures the following: "My feeling is that it must have been done by someone who was unfamiliar with Wilde's hand but who was given access to the original manuscript, probably after 1905, thus completing the first printed version. It could have been done by Walter Ledger or Christopher Millard who would have been the only two whom Robbie [Ross] would have trusted with the original." There are various short lacunae in the typescript, leaving blank spaces, perhaps for a more practised reader of Wilde's deteriorating handwriting to insert an accurate transcription of the relevant words and phrases once the copyist had completed what they were able to do. Provenance: Christopher Sclater Millard (Stuart Mason); George Sims (catalogue 33, 1956); Llewellyn Wright. With a t.l.s. from Wright to George Sims (9 January 1957) requesting details of provenance and an a.p.c.s. in reply (26 January 1957) assuring him that it had been in Millard's possession. Divided into seven sections, punch-holes from brass clips (present), some creasing to corners but in excellent condition. Wilde began writing his long letter of admonition to Alfred Douglas ("Dear Bosie") in January 1897, during his last months in Reading Gaol. Prison regulations dictated that he was only allowed one folio sheet of blue prison paper to write on at a time; when each sheet was completed it was taken away for the Governor to see and replaced by another, and the sheet was also removed each evening at locking-in time. The letter, which eventually amounted to 80 ruled pages on 20 folio sheets, was completed at the end of March. On April 1st Wilde intended to dispatch it, not to Douglas but with his quarterly letter to Robert Ross, with a request that it be copied. "I send you, in a roll separate from this, my letter to Alfred Douglas," he wrote, "which I hope will arrive safe. As soon as you have read it, I want you to have it carefully copied for me. There are many reasons why I wish this to be done. One will suffice. I want you to be my literary executor in case of my death and to have complete control over my plays, books and papers . Well, if you are my literary executor, you must be in possession of the only document that really gives any explanation of my extraordinary behaviour with regard to Queensberry and Douglas." As to the mode of copying, Wilde felt that "the only thing to do is to be thoroughly modern and have it typewritten." Otherwise the letter was to be "a strict secret from the general world." Only two copies of the entire work were to be made, one for Ross, the other to be kept for Wilde himself. Additional copies of some sections - those that were subsequently published as De Profundis - were sent to two women friends, Adela Schuster and Frances Forbes-Robertson. Wilde's suggestion to Ross was that a girl from the agency where he had sent his last play to be typed should go to More Adey's flat in London to do the work under Ross's supervision. "Women are the most reliable, as they have no memory for the important." However, Wilde found he was not allowed to send his MS to Ross. It was referred by the prison Governor, Major J. O. Nelson, to the Prison Commissioners who judged that "this correspondence cannot be allowed to go out - it may be kept and handed over to the prisoner when he is discharged." Wilde duly received it on the day of his release six weeks later, and handed it to Ross shortly after walking down the gangway of the Newhaven ferry in Dieppe harbour. After discussing the matter with Ross, Wi
      [Bookseller: Peter Grogan]
Last Found On: 2016-11-29           Check availability:      AbeBooks    

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