Wednesday, June 22, 2022

568. André Gide's Copy of An Ideal Husband

When Oscar Wilde's An Ideal Husband was published, deluxe copies were sent at the author's request to a small group of friends, including Robert Ross, Alfred Lord Douglas, Reginald Turner, and Charles Shannon. The latter had designed the binding.

Ordinary copies were sent to twenty acquaintances, including quite a few French friends such as Félix Fénéon, Ernest La Jeunesse, and André Gide.

Oscar Wilde, An Ideal Husband (1899):
autograph dedication to André Gide

Many of these will have been signed with a dedication by Wilde. The dedication in Gide's copy reads:

my friend 
André Gide : 
of friendship : 

A date or place name is missing.

The copy is part of the currently auctioned collection of Pierre Bergé, it is lot 1634 in
The Pierre Bergé Library, Part 6 (Paris, Pierre Bergé & Associés, 6 July 2022). The estimate is  €6,000 - €8,000.

Wilde was important to Gide: he changed his life. Gide was 22 when they met in 1891. In 1895 they met again in Algeria and Wilde introduced him to homosexuality, or as the auction catalogue discretely says: 'thanks to Wilde, who played the role of matchmaker, Gide was able to become what he was'.