Wilde: An Unworthy Son

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The Independent Online
DAYS AFTER he left Reading Gaol on 8 May 1897, Oscar Wilde (right) wrote to Henrietta Stannard, saying he was an "unworthy" son.

Wilde's letter to Mrs Stannard, a friend of his mother and a popular novelist, who used the pseudonym John Strange Winter, forms another sale in the 15 July auction and is likely to fetch pounds 8,000.

Wilde was befriended by Mrs Stannard when he moved to France - using the name Sebastian Melmot - and she saw him being snubbed by the English.

In the letter he writes: "I have passed through a very terrible punishment and suffered the very pitch of anguish and despair... Still I am conscious I was leading a life quite unworthy of an artist in every way, and unworthy of a son of my dear mother whose nobility of soul and intellect you have always appreciated."