It’s a scorching day at Vicky A headquarters; what better way to celebrate (?) it than with a scorching love letter or two, courtesy of our dear Oscar?
The Morgan Library has posted a collection of Wilde’s letters and manuscripts, including several to his lover, Lord Alfred “Bosie” Douglas. Some of his love letters are spontaneous and immediate in nature; just a quick line here and there. Others reveal a deep longing for Bosie’s company and a youthful ecstasy in his presence that moves us to this day (especially knowing how this particular love story ends).
The Morgan library has a copy of the earliest surviving letter from Wilde to Bosie at the very beginning of their relationship. From the website: “Writing on stationery of the Albemarle Club, probably in late 1892, Wilde expresses candid yearning to be with Douglas … and hopes that Douglas likes the visiting-card case he has given him, perhaps for Douglas’s twenty-second birthday. Douglas later destroyed many of the letters Wilde wrote to him. (Virtually all those he retained are now in the Clark Library at UCLA.)”
Wilde tells him in the letter, dated November 1892: “I should awfully like to go away with you somewhere—where it is hot and coloured—” , which is delightful in its wish to escape the cold November of England and travel to a lush, exotic place of warmth where they could smolder at each other like this:
Weeks later, in response to a letter Bosie had sent, Wilde wrote the following:
“My Own Boy,
Your sonnet is quite lovely, and it is a marvel that those red rose-leaf lips of yours should be made no less for the madness of music and song than for the madness of kissing. Your slim gilt soul walks between passion and poetry. I know Hyacinthus, whom Apollo loved so madly, was you in Greek days.
Why are you alone in London, and when do you go to Salisbury? Do go there to cool your hands in the grey twilight of Gothic things, and come here whenever you like. It is a lovely place and lacks only you; but go to Salisbury first.
Always, with undying love, yours,
Oh, Oscar. I know I wasn’t your type, but you sure know how to melt a girls heart.
His letters to Bosie grew in ardor and urgency and, eventually, in despair and exasperation. We’ll save more of those for later posts. I know, I know, I’m a horrible tease but we have to save some fun for later! Some antici…..pation?
Happy Friday, everyone! If you’re stuck in this heat wave like we are, stay cool (unless you’re reading Wilde’s love letters; then you might need a fan and a cool drink of water)!