The present platform is an attempt to provide a table of manuscripts, typescripts and provenances of major works of Oscar Wilde from as many reliable sources as possible. Because of the great number of extant manuscripts (and the many manuscripts that cannot be located), I am obliged to restrict this table for the present to specific works by Wilde. These are:
- Vera; or, The Nihilists
- The Duchess of Padua
- The Picture of Dorian Gray
- Lady Windermere’s Fan
- A Woman of No Importance
- An Ideal Husband
- The Importance of Being Earnest
- The Soul of Man under Socialism
- The Sphinx
- A Florentine Tragedy
- La Sainte Courtisane
- “A Wife’s Tragedy”
All of these works and their manuscripts are listed with their histories and provenances in full detail. They are augmented with dealers’ catalogue entries and other informative notes on each item.
Some of the manuscripts cannot be identified with certainty as those mentioned in the historical sources. Furthermore, many manuscripts which appeared on the market at certain times cannot be located today. Many of them have never appeared again. As a result, there are inevitable gaps, errors or uncertainties in the identification of the manuscripts. Other errors may be due to ambiguous or unavailable information.
For these reasons, this platform is intended to be interactive and dynamic, and users are explicitly requested to contribute their knowledge and corrections.
This database in its present form is a first step, but an important one. The goal is to develop it further, with the help of archivists, auctioneers, rare book dealers and, not least, the scholarly community and the numerous experts in the Wilde world, into a reliable instrument for research on Wilde’s works.
Appendix: Index of names; auction houses; bibliography of dealers’ catalogues, literature and reference works consulted.