Oscar Wilde Autograph Letter Signed, "Be at Vaudeville Theatre"
Autograph letter signed. Bi-fold on slight card stock, 4.5" x 7", with Wilde's personal letterhead of 16 Tite Street in Chelsea. Penned to recto of first page, balance of pages left blank. Signed by Oscar Wilde in full signature "Oscar Wilde". Circa 1880's. Small stains, and expected folds, else near fine.
Oscar Wilde writes to a friend arranging the logistics to visit the Theatre. Wilde writes in full:
''Dear Arthur, Be at Vaudeville Theatre - 8.30 tomorrow (Saturday) evening - a box, and Miss Temple await you - If you can't come, telephone. / Ever yrs / Oscar Wilde''.
Oscar Wilde’s rich and dramatic portrayals of the human condition came during the height of the prosperity that swept through London in the Victorian Era of the late 19th century. At a time when all citizens of Britain beyond the wealthy and educated were finally able to embrace literature, Wilde wrote many short stories, plays and poems that continue to inspire millions around the world. In 1881, he published his first collection of poetry. Poems received mixed reviews by critics, but advanced Oscar’s writing career nonetheless.
Wilde's successes started to occur around the period of this letter and took off rapidly. In December 1881, Oscar sailed for New York to travel across the United States and deliver a series of lectures on aesthetics. The 50-lecture tour was originally scheduled to last four months, but stretched to nearly a year, with over 140 lectures given in 260 days. In between lectures he made time to meet with Henry Longfellow, Oliver Wendell Holmes and Walt Whitman. He also arranged for his play, “Vera,” to be staged in New York the following year.
On May 29, 1884, Oscar married Constance Lloyd. Constance was four years younger than Oscar and the daughter of a prominent barrister who died when she was 16. She was well-read, spoke several European languages and had an outspoken, independent mind. Oscar and Constance had two sons in quick succession, Cyril in 1885 and Vyvyan in 1886. With a family to support, Oscar accepted a job revitalizing the Woman’s World magazine, where he worked from 1887-1889. The next six years were to become the most creative period of his life. He published two collections of children’s stories, “The Happy Prince and Other Tales” (1888), and “The House of Pomegranates” (1892). His first and only novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray, was published in an American magazine in 1890 to a storm of critical protest. He expanded the story and had it published in book form the following year. Its implied homoerotic theme was considered very immoral by the Victorians and played a considerable part in his later legal trials. Oscar’s first play, “Lady Windermere’s Fan,” opened in February 1892. Its financial and critical success prompted him to continue to write for the theater. His subsequent plays included “A Woman of No Importance” (1893), “An Ideal Husband” (1895), and “The Importance of Being Earnest” (1895). These plays were all highly acclaimed and firmly established Oscar as a playwright.
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