Recollections of Oscar Wilde, By Charles Ricketts

 

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The Independent Culture

An illustrator of Wilde, Ricketts produced this fragmentary memoir at the end of his life. Published by the Nonesuch Press in 1932 with a cover by Ricketts and design by Francis Meynell, it has been reproduced for the first time. A few epigrams glitter: "Have you noticed how annoyed pigs become if you do not cast pearls before them."

Wilde is described in a palpably real London: "We waited near a shop with sausage rolls and pork pies. Wilde said, 'What curious things people will eat... I suppose they must be hungry!'"

Though Ricketts slams Morris and Meredith for not supporting Wilde, he seems self-absorbed. According to Wilde, his visit to Reading Gaol was not a success. This evocative work will be a vital buy for Oscar completists.

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