A book gifted by William Morris to Oscar Wilde heads to auction
A beautifully bound first edition copy of 'The Roots of the Mountains' gifted by William Morris to Oscar Wilde prior to the books publication date is featured in an upcoming book auction at Sothebys.
Upon receiving the book Wilde responded to Morris with a typically flowery letter of thanks, in which he writes that the cover of the book is 'not nearly lovely enough' for the prose within before admitting that he has 'loved' the work of the author since boyhood.
It seems as though Wilde never found the time to actually read the book-as many of it's pages remain unopened.
Never the less, it formed part of Wilde's much loved library which was ruthlessly dismantled during the 1895 bankruptcy auction which took place during Wilde's imprisonment.
The edition is mentioned by Wilde in his lengthy letter 'De Profundis' in which he laments the loss of his possessions, including "my Library with its collection of presentation volumes from almost every poet of my time, from Hugo to Whitman, from Swinburne to Mallarmé, from Morris to Verlaine..."
The inscribed copy now forms part of a less controversial auction, 'The Library of an English Bibliophile, which is due to be held on the 24th of November.
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