Elysium: Asphodel Editions (2005). 1st Edition. Hardcover. This edition is the first English translation of the eccentric Baron Fersen's decadent gay novel, Lord Lyllian: Messes Noires. Fersen (1880-1923) was arrested in 1903 and charged with indecent assault and exciting minors to debauchery. He was forced to leave France and settled in Capri, where he began the novel the following year. Originally published in 1905, it was one of the first novels written about Oscar Wilde after his demise and is filled with outrageous descriptions of fin de siècle excesses, including Fersen’s own addiction to opium and adolescent boys. The edition is limited to 500 copies bound in black silk moiré, with a reproduction of the original cover illustration by Claude Simpson tipped onto the cover. Jeremy Reed has contributed an Introduction to the edition. Printed at the Stinehour Press in Vermont.
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Edinburgh: Privately Printed (1981). An essay by Jeremy Mason on Wilde's stay in Berneval after his release from prison, with several tipped in photographs and a previously unpublished letter from Wilde to Reggie Turner. One of 70 numbered copies printed letterpress at the Tragara Press, fine in marbled wrappers.
Philadelphia: CSM Press (2013). 198pp. A collection of Wilde's writings on dress and fashion, many of which have been inaccesible until now. The book contains generously annotated and illustrated chapters that analyze the importance of dress in the historical context of Wilde's career, together with a comprehensive review of the inspiration, trends, and source material that informed his philosophy. Fine in original boards, one of 100 numbered copies (#92).
Oxford: Thos. Shrimpton and Son (1878). 8vo. The first edition of Wilde’s first work published in book form and the winner of the Newdigate Prize Poem competition in 1878 that was awarded to students at the University of Oxford for the Best Composition in English verse. “During a vacation ramble in 1877 he started for Greece, [and] visiting Ravenna by chance on the way, he obtained material for a poem on that ancient city, and singularly enough ‘Ravenna’ was afterwards given out as the topic for the Newdigate competition” (The Aesthetic Movement in England by Walter Hamilton, 1882). The subject was to be confined to the study of the ancient Greek and Roman remains of architecture, sculpture, and painting that was to be written in heroic couplets. Wilde’s success was announced on June 10 and advertised in the Oxford University Gasette (viii, 293, p. 451) on June 18th. In the same issue it was announced that the winners will recite their prized entries at the Hall of New College. “One of the Professor’s [of Poetry] duties is to suggest textual improvements to the Winner of the Newdigate. The amendments proposed are usually accepted with gratitude; but there have been exceptions to the rule. Shairp suggested many improvements in Oscar Wilde’s Ravenna. Wilde listened to all suggestions with courtesy and even took notes of them, but he went away and printed the poem without making a single alteration in it” (The Academy, February 17, 1906). Mason 301. Foolscap 8vo. Original publisher’s printed wrappers (slightly toned at edges, else fine); folding hardcover chemise. Provenance: George Cukor (bookplate on chemise).
Paris: E. Figuiere . 168 pp. 2nd ed. Wilde's famous novel, adapted to the theater by Suzanne Mercet. (Although the author notes in the introduction: "Cette pièce n'est pas- une adaptation, c'est une transmutation de l'or pur du roman d Oscar Wilde en une matière dramatique aussi précieuse et aussi brillante, puisqu'il l'avait inconsciemment préparée." Very good in marbled boards, original wrappers present (with cover illustration by "Kit") #966 of an unknown edition Quite uncommon and likely the first dramatic presentation of Wilde's novel in France.