Sunday, January 21, 2007

A. J. A. Symons on Oscar Wilde

I mentioned that I've been working on a couple of things concerning Oscar Wilde. Well this is the second one. This is a picture of the proof copy (ie. a little bit of tweaking and it will be ready to sell) of my edition of previously unpublished notes by A J A Symons on Wilde. They were written for what would have been Symons' magnum opus, his Select Bibliography of the Nineties, but the project never came to completion and the notes have been languishing in an archive in Delaware for perhaps 85 years now. So I have pulled them out, dusted them down and worked my magic on them. Of course, in 85 years, a lot has been written on Wilde and there is nothing new in the substance of what Symons has to say. What I think makes it an interesting read is firstly, that if you wanted a well written 'Introduction to the Life and Work of Oscar Wilde' you could do a lot worse than this but also, and more interestingly, Symons himself was something of a character - a throwback to the Nineties in many ways - so the conjunction of Symons and Wilde is quite something. The other great unfinished work of Symons was his projected full-length biography of Wilde; he was a long way along with it by all accounts. So I suppose this counts as the first stirrings of what would have been one of the first unbiased biographies of Oscar Wilde.

And, without wishing to be too big-headed - I'm in love with the way this looks. Barley and Plum card covers - gold ruling on the plum spine - simple text... The spine, which is the real innovation for me, also means that the thread which sews these booklets together isn't visible on the outside of the booklet.

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