DE VERE, Aubrey.
St Thomas of Canterbury.
A Dramatic Poem.
First edition. Presentation copy inscribed by the author to “Lady Wilde, from Aubrey de Vere, June 15, 1876” on the verso of the front free endpaper, a superb association: Lady Jane Wilde (née Elgee), author, Irish nationalist and mother of Oscar, was a long-time friend of the Catholic convert De Vere, whose influence upon her was treated with suspicion by some of her more conventional associates. “Whether her attraction[to Catholicism] was ever more than a mask, a skin-deep shallowness designed to shock or provoke reaction, is difficult to discern. Certainly it appeared that at least one of her correspondents, Sir William Hamilton, was sufficiently concerned about the possibility of her conversion to express fears that … Aubrey De Vere could ‘succeed in converting, or perverting you’. He need not have worried. Lady Wilde’s brief affair with the Church appeared to be little more than a fleeting passion, aroused perhaps by nothing other than a desire for a little naughtiness and illicit excitement” (Pearce, The Unmasking of Oscar Wilde, p. 30).
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Octavo. Original green cloth over bevelled boards, spine lettered in gilt and ruled in black, two-line border gilt to covers enclosing floral vignettes stamped in black, titles to front gilt, brown-coated endpapers. 32-page publisher’s catalogue to rear as issued. Bookplate of W. Van R. Whitall to front pastedown. Spine darkened, extremities lightly bumped and rub, very short portion of surface-splitting to head of front joint, minor abrasion to front cover below title, front free endpaper sometime restored along fore edge and with small chip to foot. An excellent copy.