The original manuscripts of Oscar Wilde
today reside in many collections, including the British Library
. By far the largest and most comprehensive is to be found at the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library
This collection includes typescripts and copies of many letters and associated documents from Wilde's circle. Scholarly accounts of the manuscripts and Wilde's methods of working can be found among the many graduate and post graduate works. The library's collection of materials features early purchases from Wilde's son Vyvyan Holland, the bibliographer Christopher Millard, and literary executor Robert Ross. This group of autograph letters and drafts by Wilde, supported by a nearly complete collection of printed editions of his works make useful research material for modern biographers. Original photographs, caricatures, theatre programs, and news cuttings are available.
In looking over the material it can be seen that the image of the indolent Wilde, carefree and idle for much of the time, is misleading, although in some sense it is a myth that was perpetuated by the author himself. Wilde had two plays running in London
's West End
before the scandal erupted. Rehearsals for The Importance of Being Earnest
even took place on Christmas Day
, much to the annoyance of the actors.
Various copy books contain pages where either the dialogue is a free-flowing early draft — or a combination of both typed copy and annotations by hand. Various pastings occur and clear... Read More