Bosie on Wilde: A powerful force for evil who sold his soul to the devil

A vicious and previously unpublished diatribe against Oscar Wilde by his lover Lord Alfred Douglas is expected to fetch £600,000 when auctioned by Sotheby's later this month.

A vicious and previously unpublished diatribe against Oscar Wilde by his lover Lord Alfred Douglas is expected to fetch £600,000 when auctioned by Sotheby's later this month.

In a set of corrected page proofs for The Wilde Myth, which was written in 1916 but remained unissued for fear the publishers would be prosecuted for libel, Lord Douglas - nicknamed "Bosie", by the celebrated writer - warns the present and future youth of England against being corrupted by the likes of Wilde.

"He was one of the most powerful forces for evil that has happened in Europe for the last three hundred years," declares Douglas. "I do not know of any man who more truly or literally sold himself to the Devil than he did."

Lord Douglas, by now a devout Catholic who had rejected his homosexual tendencies, attacks Wilde as perhaps only the reformed and rejected can. He concludes: "The Wilde myth has devastated my life from every point of view. It devastated my life when I was victim to its illusions, and it has devastated my life ever since I escaped from those illusions."

The work, bearing Douglas's corrections and one of only only two proof copies known to exist, should fetch up to £50,000 at the 104-lot sale at Sotheby's in London on 29 October.

Wilde's affair with Douglas sparked the writer's downfall after his disastrous prosecution of Bosie's father, the Marquis of Queensberry, for criminal libel, instigated after the marquis left a visiting card at the Albermarle club famously inscribed with the words: "For Oscar Wilde posing Somdomite [sic]...".

Wilde's prosecution of Queensberry ended with a not guilty verdict and he was arrested on a charge of gross indecency.

Wilde was sentenced to two years' imprisonment with hard labour, which broke both his health and his career. After his release from prison he lived mainly abroad under the pseudonym Sebastian Melmoth. He died in Paris on 30 November, 1900.

Statements which were instrumental in bringing about Wilde's downfall, picked up in a London junk shop for a pittance during the 1950s, reveal sordid details of his sexual escapades.

The archive for sale on 29 October includes Wilde's own manuscript copy, heavily revised, of chapter 16 of The Picture of Dorian Gray. The document, one of six chapters that Wilde wrote after the publishers asked for a longer story, is expected to fetch £80,000. The catalogue for the sale of his Chelsea household property in April 1895 - one of only four to have survived - is likely to realise £60,000.

A first edition copy of The Picture of Dorian Gray - inscribed to Marcel Schwob, the French symbolist writer - is estimated at £35,000, and a presentation copy of The Importance of Being Earnest, inscribed to Arthur Clifton, should fetch £60,000.

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