WILDE Oscar. Wilde V Whistler: Being An Acrimonious Correspondence On Art Between Oscar Wilde And James A McNeil Whistler.

Privately printed [by Leonard Smithers], London., 1906. First edition. Octavo. 20 pages. One of 400 copies – there were 100 additional copies on large paper. Wilde and Whistler, notorious dandies in mid-19th century London, often traded bon-mots. Whistler, who was twenty years older, was already a celebrated wit by the time he first met Wilde. (When asked why he had been born in Lowell, Massachusetts, Whistler replied that he wanted to be close to his mother.) Both could legitimately compete for the titles of preeminent wit and vainest man of their era (Whistler sometimes referred to himself as “the amazing one”). In time there was friction. Whistler began to feel that his young friend (whose reputation was eclipsing his) had borrowed his flamboyant and eccentric style of dress and speaking. It is reported after a particularly good witticism by Whistler at a party Wilde once said to him, “I wish I had said that.” Whistler answered, “You will, Oscar, you will.” In a battle of telegrams, Wilde wrote with pleasure, “When you and I are together we never talk about anything except ourselves.” Whistler responded, “No, no, Oscar, you forget. When you and I are together, we never talk about anything except me.” Despite their back and forth repartee and ultimate falling out, Wilde retained great respect and affection for his friend and mentor. This one of 400 copies in tan wrappers. Wrappers, chipped, and torn. Housed in a green clamshell box.


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