“The real charm of the play, if it [has] charm, must be in the dialogue,” Oscar Wilde wrote in his pitch for The Importance of Being Earnest. The letter was sent to his friend and former collaborator, George Alexander, who would go on to produce, revise, and even act in the play. That letter, written in 1894, is available in the upcoming Books and Manuscripts auction, presented by Sotheby’s. Earnest would be Wilde’s final play. While lighter in tone than his previous works, the play still served as a critique of Victorian society, which is alluded to in the work’s subtitle: A Trivial Comedy for Serious People.
Collectors interested in literary history will also find a revised typescript of Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote. The manuscript, submitted by Capote to Random House in May of 1958, shows the author fine-tuning his work. Some alterations are minor, such as changing the word “mad” to “vexed.” Others, meanwhile, grapple with macro-level issues of tone, such as Capote deciding how explicit he wants the main character Holly to be about her relationships.
The Sotheby’s event also includes atlases, with Gerard Mercator and Jodocus Hondius’ 1613 atlas among the highlights. The project began in 1563, when Mercator decided to create a five-book project outlining the entire world, from creation to the heavens to geography. Though Mercator would not live to see the project through to its completion, this atlas was the product of his efforts. Those interested in this or any other piece can register to bid on the Sotheby’s website.
Lot Categories:Collectibles (194)
# of Lots:194
Price Range:$127 - $200,000
Interesting lots include:
|Item Image||Item Name||Estimate|
|Wilde | Autograph letter signed, to George Alexander, outlining the plot of The Importance of Being Earnest, 1894||
|Coronelli | Atlante Veneto, 1691||
|Mercator and Hondius | Atlas, 1613||
|Elliot, D.G.| A Monograph of the Paradiseidae, or Birds of Paradise, New York 1873, folio, 36 plates||
- Books, Manuscripts & Archives
- D. G. Elliiot
- Gerard Mercator
- Jodocus Hondius
- Oscar Wilde
- Truman Capote
- Vincenzo Coronelli
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