Oscar Wilde & le fin de siècle

The Oscar Wilde collection at the Clark Library is the largest and most significant in the world and includes nearly every edition of every printed book by and about Wilde, as well as a wealth of related material by his contemporaries. William Andrews Clark’s first major Wilde-related acquisition in 1920 included a number of drafts, manuscripts, and letters bought at auction from the private Wilde collection of John B. Stetson Jr. In 1928 Clark purchased from Dulau & Company, London, an extensive group of books, manuscripts, press clippings, and Wildeiana, which had belonged to Robert Ross (Wilde’s friend and literary executor), Christopher Millard (the Wilde biographer), and Vyvyan Holland (Wilde’s younger son).

The English 1890s in general are well documented in books and archival materials, including periodicals; an archive concerning the publisher John Lane; most of W. B. Yeats’s works; caricatures by Max Beerbohm; and books and archives for writers such as George Moore, Ada Leverson, George Egerton, Dollie Radford, and others. A collection of letters addressed to the editor John Stuart Verschoyle includes correspondence from many famous writers such as Henry James, Algeron Charles Swinburne, and others. The Clark Library also collects the work of Pierre Louÿs, the dedicatee of Wilde’s play Salomé.

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