2 June 2004
WILDE, Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills (1854-1900). Ravenna. Oxford: [Parker for] Thomas Shrimpton and Son, 1878.
8° (179 x 119mm). Woodcut Oxford University arms on title and head- and tailpieces and initial. (Very lightly browned.) Original printed grey wrappers with woodcut University arms on upper wrapper (spine heel slightly chipped, edges of wrappers lightly browned).
FIRST EDITION. WILDE'S FIRST SEPARATELY-PUBLISHED WORK. 'Ravenna' was submitted for the Newdigate Prize on 31 March 1878, and the award of the prize to Wilde was announced on 10 June 1878. On 26 June Wilde read it at the Encaenia in the Sheldonian Theatre; the Oxford Chronicle reported that the poem 'was listened to with rapt attention, partly, perhaps, because the whole poem was recited from memory, and at its conclusion loudly cheered' (quoted in: O. Wilde The Complete Letters (London: 2000), p.69). Mason 301.
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