Bernard Shaw, Frank Harris & Oscar Wilde

By Robert Harborough Sherard | Go to book overview

XV
FRANK HARRIS AND DE PROFUNDIS

THE two letters from Oscar Wilde to Ross which are referred to in the preceding chapter, the letters dated April Ist and 6th, 1897, respectively afford the clearest documentary evidence that where Harris in the Life and Confessions (Vol. II, pp. 356 to 362) reports the interview he had with Oscar Wilde in April, 1897, in which Wilde told him he was writing the book that was afterwards called De Profundis, and begged him to publish it in the Saturday Review, he is lying with even more than his usual impudence.

In this conversation, Frank Harris tells us, Wilde told him that he was going to write the history of his past, that it is the book of pity and of love—"a terrible book"—that he is writing now.

In a note on this page 360 Harris gives the title of this book: De Profundis.

He goes on to say that Oscar said he would like him to publish it in the Saturday, that he would like it to appear there.

Harris says that he will be delighted to publish it and to pay Wilde much more than what he was paying Bernard Shaw.

Wilde then says he knows that it will be all right about the "copy-money" (as Dr. Johnson used to call it) and promises to send Harris the book as son as he has finished it.

Every word of this conversation is a lie.

The letter to Ross dated April Ist begins by telling him the De Profundis manuscript is being sent him from the gaol under another cover.Consequently it had been completed before April Ist.As a matter of fact, the manuscript had not been for

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