The Sphinx. Oscar Wilde.
The Sphinx
The Sphinx
The Sphinx
New Arrival


The Sphinx.

London: Elkin Mathews and John Lane At the Sign of the Bodley Head, 1894.

Ricketts, Charles. One of 200 copies. Illustrated by Charles Ricketts with wood-engraved title page, half and full-page designs, ornamental initials. Printed in red, black and green. Unpaginated. 1 vols. Slender 8vo. WITH LEAF OF MANUSCRIPT. Original vellum gilt, designed by Charles Ricketts. Minor soiling. Fine. Manuscript with old fold, early pencil annotations in another hand. Laid into cloth slipcase and chemise Mason 361; Nelson, A View from the Bodley Head, pp.45- 46 passim; Wick, THE TURN OF A CENTURY 1885-1910, Number 10; Ray, Illustrator and the Book, 262. Item #321981

or did you make
the pyramid your lupanar,

Till from each black sarcophagus
Rose up the painted swathed dead,
Or did you lure unto your bed
The ivory-horned Tragelophos.

Desire shook the swathèd dead

With an autograph manuscript fragment of the poem, when the work was still written in quatrains. The text comprises a variant part of line 62, the complete lines 63-64, and a variant of the 63rd line which appears in the the second known draft of the poem. The verses continue the litany of strange, transgresive couplings. The manuscript is written on a leaf of De La Rue folio paper, torn in half, and similar to the fragments in the Clark and Hyde collections described as F2 by the editors of Wilde’s Poems and Poems in Prose (Oxford, 2001).

The manuscript is loosely inserted in a choice copy of Wilde’s Sphinx, “the most beautiful and consummately designed trade book of the 1890s” (Nelson), and the last book Wilde published before his imprisonment.

Price: $12,500.00 Free International Delivery