London: Humphreys, 1904. First. Sm. Quarto. pp. [iv], 223. Bookplate on front pastedown. Bound by Hatchards of Picadilly in contemporary full brown morocco, titled in gilt. Light rubbing to cover; purple silk marker. Top edge gilt. A very good copy.
In 1895 while enjoying the success of 'The Importance of Being Earnest', Wilde allowed himself to be lured into a libel action against Douglas's father, the Marquis of Queensberry, who had strenuously objected to his son's relationship. Queensberry left a card in the Albemarle Club inscribed "To Oscar Wilde, posing as a sodomite". The case proved a disaster, and was unsuccessful for Wilde following a devastating cross-examination by Edward Carson. Wilde in turn was charged with gross indecency and was sentenced to two years penal servitude with hard labour. On his release from prison he immediately left England and, bankrupt and homeless, spent the rest of his life wandering aimlessly about Italy and France, sometimes with Douglas, sometimes with Ross, using the pseudonym 'Sebastian Melmoth'. Wilde died of cerebral meningitis at the Hotel d'Alsace in November 1900, where he received the last rites of the Roman Catholic Church.
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