Remarkable love letters written by Oscar Wilde to a young magazine editor are to be auctioned off later on this month at Bamfords of Derby auction house.
The letters addressed to Alsager Vian have been revealed for the first time. They were written at the height of Wilde’s fame and show the author’s struggles with homosexuality at time when it was punishable by prison.
The intriguing collection of five letters, which were kept under lock and key until Vian’s death in 1924, is expected to sell for £10,000 on the 24th of September.
The content of those intimate letters reveals Wilde’s sexuality. They show his deep affection to fellow editor of Society Magazine who is being continually invited to dine with the author.
“Come and dine at Pagani’s in Portland Street on Friday 7.30pm. No dress, just ourselves and a flask of Italian wine.
“Afterwards we will smoke cigarettes and Talk over the Journalistic article, could we go to your rooms, I am so far off, and clubs are difficult to Talk in.”
The letter revealed Wilde’s sexuality much earlier than the well-known case from 1887. Wide was arrested under gross indecency under Section 11 of the Criminal Law Amendment Act 1885, which covered homosexual acts, and spent two years in jail.
The discovery has been made just in time of the upcoming exhibition, Britain’s 19th Century Aesthetic Movement, at the Victoria And Albert Museum in London, which is going to feature Wilde’s lifestyle and legacy.