Wildes earliest surviving letter to gay lover found after 50 years

December 8th, 2008 - 6:05 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Dec 8 (ANI): A collection of letters and manuscripts that illuminate the life and work of celebrated writer Oscar Wilde, apparently lost for more than 50 years, have been found by academics.

The volume contains 50 handwritten pages, including Wilde’’s earliest surviving letter to his lover Lord Alfred Douglas, whom he called Bosie, which documents the start of his doomed gay relationship with the Magdalen College undergraduate in the early 1890s, reports the Independent.

Douglas destroyed most of the letters Wilde wrote to him. Almost all he retained are in the Clark Library at UCLA, so the reappearance of this early letter is highly significant.

The volume belonged to Douglas’’s father, the ninth Marquess of Queensberry, whose rage at his son’’s involvement with Wilde led to one of the most notorious criminal trials, resulting in Wilde’’s conviction on charges that he had committed acts of “gross indecency”.

The cover of the volume bears the arms of Queensberry, the shield flanked by two winged horses over the motto Forward, stamped in gilt.

The manuscripts and letters were collected and preserved by the 11th Marquess of Queensberry, the grandson.

They were donated to The Morgan Library in New York, where scholars will begin examining the writer’’s working processes in hope to make new discoveries.

The volume, to be exhibited to the public next April, was donated by Lucia Moreira Salles, a Brazilian-born philanthropist who acquired the material with her late husband, Walter Moreira Salles, a Brazilian banker and book collector. (ANI)

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