3 March 2004
WILDE, Oscar--Gaius Caecilius PLINIUS SECUNDUS (62-113). Selected Letters. Edited by Constantine E. Prichard and Edward R. Bernard. Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1872.
8° (167 x 112mm). 16-page publisher's catalogue bound in at the end. (Occasional light spotting or marking.) Original maroon cloth, spine lettered in gilt, boards with blind-stamped borders and series devices, 20th-century morocco-backed slipcase (boards a little marked and rubbed at extremities, hinges partially split). Provenance: Oscar Wilde (pencilled ownership inscription on title 'Oscar Wilde , May. 74'; extensive pencilled annotations and underlinings throughout text and on rear free endpaper; pencil drawings of busts in profile on lower pastedown) -- purchased from James F. Drake, New York, 16 December 1941, $30.
WILDE'S OWN COPY, DATED THE MONTH BEFORE HIS EXAMINATION FOR A DEMYSHIP IN CLASSICS AT MAGDALEN COLLEGE, OXFORD. In the Spring of 1874, Wilde applied for one of two Demyships (i.e. scholarships) in Classics at Magdalen worth £95 a year for up to five years; the examination was held at Oxford on 23 June 1874 --'Wilde breezed through his examination and was obviously the best' (R. Ellmann Oscar Wilde, Oxford 1987, p.34) -- and Wilde was awarded one of the Demyships. The text is extensively underlined, and translations of words and sometimes phrases or occasionally sentences are added in the margins. On the rear free endpaper Wilde has compiled a vocabulary list and on the lower pastedown are sketches of two busts, similar in style to the sketches of Etruscan antiquities and sculptures that illustrate Wilde's letter of c.15 June 1875 to his father, who was, amongst other things, a noted amateur antiquarian (O. Wilde The Complete Letters, London 2000, pp.5-9).
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