Documents associated with: West, Benjamin
Record 3 of 4
System Number: 07057
Date: [22/23 February 1885]
Author: Oscar Wilde
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler W1046
Document Type: ALS
Dear Butterfly -
As of their works nothing at all remains, I conclude that they explained themselves away.
Be warned in [p. 2] time, James; and remain, as I do, incomprehensible: to be great is to be misunderstood.
tout à vous
You must stamp your letters - they are dear at two pence - and also do send them in proper time. 2.30 on Monday! ciel!
1. [22/23 February 1885]
This is a reply to JW's letter of 21 February 1885 (#11405). Both letters were published in 'Tenderness in Tite Street', Pall Mall Gazette, 24 February 1885, p. 10; in World, vol. 22, no. 556, 25 February 1885, p. 14; and, again under the title 'Tenderness in Tite Street', together with a heavily edited version of Wilde's review (entitled 'Rengaines!') in Whistler, James McNeill, The Gentle Art of Making Enemies, 2nd ed., London and New York, 1892, pp. 161-63. In Pall Mall Gazette, 'discover' was changed to 'made the discovery', 'lectured upon' to 'took to lecturing upon', 'to be' was omitted before 'understood' and the postscript was omitted. The letter is also published in Holland, Merlin and Rupert Hart-Davis, eds, The Complete Letters of Oscar Wilde, London, 2000, pp. 250-51, where it is dated 'c. 23 February 1885'.
Wilde was linking West and Delaroche to the 'Ten O'Clock Lecture,' JW's major public statement of his aesthetic ideas. JW delivered the lecture for the first time on 20 February 1885 at the Prince's Hall, Piccadilly. A version of the text of the lecture may be found at #06791. JW's letter (#11405, op. cit.) was a response to Wilde's review 'Mr Whistler's Ten O'Clock,' Pall Mall Gazette, vol. 41, no. 6224, 21 February 1885, pp. 1-2.