The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Documents associated with: plagiarism
Record 7 of 20

System Number: 05337
Date: 1 January 1890
Author: James Runciman[1]
Place: Kingston-on-Thames
Recipient: JW
Place: [London]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler R232
Document Type: ALS[2]

19 Grange Road

1 / 1 / 90

Dear Sir

If you can give me full particulars concerning Wilde[3] & "The Decay of Lying[4]" I shall be more than thankful.

I noticed the article in Vanity Fair[5] when it appeared, & I was of opinion that nothing quainter in conception had been seen for years. I reviewed Wilde's poems[6] in Vanity Fair, eight years ago & found them to be a mass of plagiarisms, so I sett [sic] him down as a damned fool; & the Nineteenth Century article made me feel repentant. At present I am preparing a straight attack on the whole thieving gang & I reckon some of them will have to sit up before I have done with them. That man Haggard[7] has been using me as a quarry, & there are [p. 2] more dirty hounds about who will steal an idea wherever they can nose one belonging to somebody else, I mean stopping the game. I shd not compare myself with you for a moment, but, in one thing we are alike: — our brains are well sucked by gentry who know how to advertise themselves. I propose that we form and Anti-Thief Association, & have some fun out of the rogues. The men who write plays are the worst malefactors, but there are art critics who run them hard. Who on earth is this Wilde? I am a lonely gipsy & know nobody; but I remember thinking that if I could not stand on my head in a corner, & dictate better verse than his to a shorthand writer, I shd never write a rhyme again,

Yours truly

James Runciman

J McNeill Whistler Esqr

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1.  James Runciman
James Runciman (1852-1891), writer [more].

2.  ALS
'Mr. Runciman' is written in an unknown hand in pencil at the top of p. 1.

3.  Wilde
Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wilde (1854-1900), writer, critic and playwright [more].

4.  Decay of Lying
'The Decay of Lying - a Dialogue', Ninteenth Century, January 1889.

5.  Vanity Fair
Reference not located.

6.  Wilde's poems
Oscar Wilde, Poems, 1881.

7.  Haggard
Henry Rider Haggard (1856-1925), novelist, agriculturalist and colonial administrator [more].