DE PROFUNDIS

London: Methuen and Co. 36 Essex Street, Strand, [1905]. First edition, 1/200 copies on English hand-made paper. Tall 8vo. 151 pp. The fine John Quinn copy, with his bookplate on the front pastedown. De Profundis is an extended letter, written by Wilde during his incarceration in Reading Gaol, to Lord Alfred Douglas. After his release, Wilde gave the manuscript to journalist Robert Ross, another former lover, who edited portions for a first publication in 1905 (the complete version remained unpublished until the 1960s). The letter recounts Wilde's years with Douglas and elements of their relationship and traces his spiritual growth. Ross's preface to this work quotes Wilde's summation of "De Profundis": "I don't defend my conduct. I explain it ... I know that on the day of my release I will merely be moving from one prison to another, and there are times when the whole world seems to be no larger than my cell, and as full of terror for me. Still at the beginning I believe that God made a world for each separate man, and, within that world, which is within us, one should seek to live." Mason 389. Spine of the slipcase sunned to a rich brown (a little rubbed), but a fine copy of the limited issue of the first edition of Wilde's important statement. Original gilt-stamped decorated white buckram, top edge gilt, others untrimmed. Housed in a custom purple quarter-crushed morocco and cloth slipcase with chemise, gilt spine title. (9771). Item #61982

Price: $8,500.00

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