Irish writer (1854–1900) and leader of the Aesthetic Movement, known for such works as The Picture of Dorian Gray, The Importance of Being Earnest, and The Happy Prince. ALS, four pages on two adjoining sheets, 4.25 x 6.75, personal letterhead, no date but circa late 1880s. Letter to Mrs. Pfeiffer, written while Wilde was editor of the magazine The Woman’s World. In full: “With a different beginning the Rossetti article will do very well. What excellent prose you write! So full of colour and feeling, yet so self-restrained. It is not poetical prose, it is the prose of a poet. What would you think of taking as a ‘peg’ for the article the drinking fount just erected in front of Rosetti’s house, and unveiled by Holman Hunt. Are there ‘living waters’ in Rossetti’s poetry? Do men thirst again when they drink of it? This is merely a suggestion. Thank you very much for the article.” Expertly double-matted and framed unfolded with a portrait of Wilde to an overall size of 15.5 x 21.5, with a window on the reverse for viewing the complete letter. A central vertical fold, light scattered foxing, and adhesive remnants to the blank portion of the reverse, otherwise fine condition.
Wilde was editor of The Woman’s World from November 1887 to July 1889, during which time he transformed the magazine from a lady’s fashion publication to a bastion of cultural importance, with articles on literature, culture, the arts, society, and politics. Journalism was an industry dominated by men, and Wilde’s magazine recognized the thoughts and opinions of men and women as equal, doing much good for the early feminist cause. Still, Wilde exercised control over the publication as demonstrated in this letter, which displays his editorial manner and style—one of flattery and gentle coercion—in dealing with potential contributors. An extremely desirable letter by the sought-after writer, enhanced by its fine artistic associations and his personal commentary on literary technique. Pre-certified John Reznikoff/PSA/DNA.
Terms and abbreviations used in our descriptions.