74 Matching Annotations
  1. Jan 2019
    1. Seneca does not just give him advice and comment on a few great principles of conduct for his benefit. Through those written lessons, Seneca continues to exercise himself; according to two principles that he often invokes; it is necessary to train oneself all one’s life, and one always needs the help of others in the soul’s labor upon itself.

      So, we, too, are exercising ourselves through these readings and annotations -- we are corresponding and collaborating.

  2. Nov 2016
    1. Yours Lovingly,

      Again, we see the same sign-off that caused Walter Pater so much trouble. It is somewhat surprising that Wilde seems to have made no response to this letter. There is a possibility that it was written but never sent, as the only record of it is in Tafani’s own collection of correspondence, separated from the correspondence with Wilde of earlier in 1877.

    2. when you come up again next month.

      It appears that this meeting never took place. Tafani’s departure from Oxford took place at the very beginning of October, and it is unclear from any of the documents at Jesus College, or in Tafani’s archive, quite why he did so. It certainly left the College rather understaffed for the first term.

    3. 1st September, 1877

      It is unclear whether a bundle of letters has simply been lost, or whether the large gap between Tafani’s previous letter and this is simply a product of an inconstancy between the two correspondents. It is clear that there must have been at least one letter from Wilde containing the manuscript pages of his novel, in order for Tafani to have read and annotated them. In any events, Tafani makes no reproaches of Wilde for not having responded to him, but the former seemed to forgive a great deal, and it is also possible that they saw each other briefly, or communicated through friends, during the intervening weeks.

    1. a copy of your Grosvenor review in the magazine

      Wilde sent such a copy of the Dublin University Magazine to Pater. It is not clear whether he ever sent a copy to Tafani, as apparently promised. He was, in other regards, an ardent promoter of the magazine, however, by way of self-promotion. A few weeks earlier, around 20 June, he had written to Keningale Cook to suggest some ways in which the magazine could be promoted to booksellers, and so boost its circulation.

    2. a dear friend of mine

      It is unclear whom Tafani was travelling with, and whether they travelled together from London or Tafani met his friend in Paris.

    1. ad poetry because of an author’s foible is one thing, but because of an editor’s?!

      Wilde wrote to the Rev. Matthew Russell SJ, editor of the Irish Monthly, on either this day or the day before about these proofs.

    2. Heu Miserande Puer

      This poem about Keats was accompanied by a short article regarding Keats’ grave, which Wilde drew to the attention of several literary figures, including WM Rossetti, with a view to improving the memorials to Keats by way of a statue. That scheme was not encouraged by Wilde’s correspondents.

    3. my relative

      Wilde does not own Henry as a half-brother, although he was. In a letter to Harding in mid-June, he described Henry as “a cousin of ours to whom we were all very much attached”.

    4. leaving a reversionary interest to Willie

      Wilde was later to persuade his brother Willie to give up this reversionary interest for the sum of £10.

    5. Henry

      Dr Henry Wilson, Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland, and Wilde’s half-brother, passed away on 13 June 1877. He was aged 39.

    1. a more harmonious whole

      Tafani does not mention explicitly any criticism of or difficulties with his translations, but the shift in tone here from his previous letter suggests that he has lost confidence in the work he had just completed.

    1. You know only too well that he remains sore from last year’s trip!

      Mahaffy was censured by his colleagues at Trinity for a similar offence—extending a trip to Greece into term-time—in 1876.

    1. my second volume

      Based on length, at 48,000 words or so, it is not clear whether Wilde’s novel strictly required a second volume. Hawthorne’s second volume exceeds by 30,000 Wilde’s entire piece. Still, the mimicry of Hawthorne’s structure seems to have provided Wilde with an imaginative construct in which to work, and the second volume deviates far more significantly from Hawthorne’s original than the first.

    2. or better,

      In ‘London Models’, Wilde argued that “Italian models are the best” because of “the natural grace of their attitudes”.

    3. a purely modern invention

      This appraisal of the status of artistic models Wilde expounds in his essay on ‘London Models’, published in the English Illustrated Magazine in January 1889.

    1. ‘at homes’

      Hunter Blair records Wilde’s tendency to host gatherings in his rooms after coffee was served in the Common Room each Sunday.

    2. He was at Eton, but retains his native accents

      It has not proven possible to identify this “prospective new Demy”. It is possible that he never took up or was offered a Demyship, although the ranks of Eton are sufficiently small that it might prove possible to theorise one or two candidates for this minor character in Wilde and Tafani’s correspondence.

    3. {If they must be read all together, I worry for their individual merit!}

      Wilde’s catty remark here unsurprisingly does not make it into the letter he sends by way of reply.

    4. They are better read together.

      A collection of Petrarchan sonnets translated into English by Tafani was published in Italy in 1879. It is likely these poems to which Tafani here refers. It seems that Tafani shared Wilde’s own interest in dictating the manner in which his works were presented.

    1. might more easily combine personality with perfection

      Wilde had read Swinburne’s Essays and Studies when it was first published in 1875, and the combination of personality and perfection was one that stuck with him throughout his life and career.

    2. I have no intention of retelling old Hawthorne’s tale

      Wilde’s reputation for plagiarism, or at least highly creative borrowing, was in its early phases during this period, but there is a point of amusement

    3. Old Cricket

      The reference is to Wilde’s much-disliked tutor, Allen. It is not clear whether the nickname was one in common use, or is something that Wilde conjured on the spot in this letter. It does not appear elsewhere. Alternatively, it may be that I have mistook Wilde’s notoriously sprawling hand in this instance, as context provides no assistance.

    1. AMT

      Whether this is teasing or sympathetic is difficult to determine. Wilde’s reply reads nothing into it.

    2. You will not fail to write it up, will you?

      Indeed, Wilde did not, and the review was published in the Dublin University Magazine in due course. It is probable that Wilde had already had the idea himself before receiving this note of encouragement.

    3. I think it rather a pity to spend so much <of yourself> on a tale that cannot much improve in the retelling

      It is difficult to know quite what Tafani would have had Wilde work upon instead (aside from academics), but he was consistently against Wilde’s project. As an Italian, it may have been Rome which he sought to defend from caricature, although Wilde’s retelling is rather more sensitive to that Empire and culture than Hawthorne’s.

    1. OFOFWW

      This flourishing of initials, from Wilde’s full name, suggests his pride was piqued by the rustication, and although Wilde does not seem to blame “dear” Tafani, it may be that he wishes to reassert himself in this letter back up to Oxford. The deferral of any further correspondence by not giving Frank Miles’ address (which Tafani might have sought out himself, had he really wished), suggests Wilde felt some need for a cooling off period.

    2. an intended poet

      It seemed that Tafani’s enthusiasm for Wilde as a poet, which Wilde at this point shared, was not universal. Later in the year, when Wilde returned to Oxford, Pater noted that prose was the more difficult of the two arts to master and questioned why Wilde wrote so much poetry. It seems that the young Wilde could not win, but charmed everyone nonetheless.

    3. rowdy behaviour of artists on a moonlight stroll

      Wilde refers here to the moonlight walk of a group of artists, including the four key characters, which takes place in Chapter 9 of his novel, and Chapters 16-18 of Hawthorne’s, including some artists yelling “Trajan! Trajan!” in the Forum in order to conjure the Emperor to life to see the Column that he did not see in his lifetime. The extensive nature of the walking tour, which Wilde truncates, often strikes readers as an excuse for Hawthorne to recount the appearance of each and every monument that he himself saw while in Rome, to little effect in the novel, as the atmosphere that it produces is less that of Rome itself and more that of a tedious correspondent who fills page after page of their self-indulgent reflections.

    4. or else the story would be all conversation

      There is an increase in the dialogic quality of the novel as Wilde retells it. This remark echoes one by him to Beatrice Allhusen that Dorian Gray was “like [his] own life—all conversation and no action” because he “can’t describe action”. Interestingly, however, many of the visualisations of Hawthorne’s novels and their treatment of the Christian names of the characters indicate a dialogic focus, with the names most often associated with speech tags or punctuation relating to direct address.

    5. Volume 1

      It is worth noting that Wilde’s first volume is rather significantly shorter than Hawthorne’s, but his completion of those eleven chapters while travelling is still something of an achievement.

    6. some

      That “some” included Ruskin and Henry James.

    7. rather than invite us to contemplate things tht [sic] are mere ephemera in the night’s sky

      Wilde’s review of the opening for the Dublin University Magazine includes a curt response to Whistler’s Nocturne in Black and Gold: The Falling Rocket: “it is worth looking at for about as long as one looks at a real rocket, that is, for somewhat less than a quarter of a minute”.

    8. frieze

      Whistler was commissioned to decorate the coved ceiling of the Grosvenor’s West Gallery, showing the moon in all its phases in silver, against a deep blue background.

    9. I have written as persuasively as was possibly in the circumstances

      Wilde’s eloquent letter was partly successful, and his fine was reduced by the Magdalen officers on 4 May, although this did not quite satisfy Wilde’s sense of justice.

    1. Yours lovingly,

      It was precisely this sign-off that proved a stumbling block for Walter Pater in his correspondence with William Money Hardinge.

    2. your punishment has already been meted out

      It is not clear whether Wilde had heard news from Tafani or others about the 26 April decision by the Magdalen officers to rusticate him. Tafani assumes that the information was known to Wilde.

    3. this may not reach you for some time

      Indeed, this letter did not reach Wilde until much later, having been returned from Paris and sent on to him from Oxford, as he had been rusticated. It can be expected that Arturo and Wilde spoke during the meantime.

    4. 29th April, 1877

      This and Tafani’s preceding letter are brief and directed towards encouraging Wilde to return sensibly to his studies. Tafani was clearly waiting to respond personally to some of the points raised in Wilde’s letters, but Wilde continues to write expansively regardless.

    1. I know very well that you will say that for the sake of the story’s shape Kenyon must adore Hilda, but it is precisely to this ‘must’ that I object!

      Tafani never responds to this point, perhaps because of the overlapping correspondence that follows. The remark that he jotted onto this letter after he received it (recorded at the end of the paragraph) indicates he may have had something to say about Wilde’s caricaturing of him.

    2. But perhaps I do not yet have sufficient understanding of such ‘ships

      It seems that Wilde changed his mind about some of these interrelationships, as only a small portion of this rewriting actually makes it into his final narrative.

    3. Roderick Hudson

      Of the novel by Henry James, published serially in 1875.

    4. Her name bears an ancient Germanic origin, but still seems to me like one of our century’s inventions; I should have changed it, had I been more bold at the beginning.

      Wilde hits upon the resurgence of the name ‘Hilda’, which had all but died out by the 14th century but was revived in the 19th.

    5. I know that I have missed a few weeks or so of term now, but I am sure you will agree that it has been to the eternal benefit of my soul and of my art.

      Wilde may have begun feeling nervous about the consequences of his long delay in returning to Oxford, which was the subject of two letters from Tafani during a period in which their correspondence seemed to cross over.

    6. You know yourself of what I speak.

      It is unclear whether Tafani had, at this point, had the same experience of an audience with the Pope as Blair and now Wilde. Tafani had left Rome as a young child, and he did not return to Italy until later in 1877.

    7. 27 April, 1877

      It seems unlikely that Wilde had received Tafani’s letter of 26 April in order to respond, so this seems to be a second writing, perhaps because Wilde had been on the move and felt that his letters might not reach him promptly, or perhaps because of the extent to which he was moved by his audience with the Pope.

    1. bring back your charming manuscripts and self with haste

      Tafani’s motivations are here unclear. Although a concern for Wilde’s academic progress is certainly plausible, Wilde’s subsequent double first suggests that the risk to his academic career was slight. The preceding paragraph speaks of Tafani’s jealousy at Wilde’s visit to Rome, and perhaps to the amusement that, implicitly, Wilde and his young friends were enjoying. The stricter tones of “My dear student” and this closing paragraph run counter to the unusual sign-off, “Tafi”, used but rarely elsewhere amongst Tafani’s correspondence, either by the man himself or by his correspondents.

    2. consequences

      It was on this same day, 26 April, that the Magdalen officers lost patience with Wilde’s absence and resolved that he be rusticated and required to complete a portion of work to a required standard before the beginning of the October term, or else risk his Demyship.

    1. objets

      The French appears to be intended, rather than a typographical error within the letter.

    2. I do not think this very ugly thing ought to be allowed to remain

      Wilde made a similar remark in a letter to his mother, evidently pleased with his discriminating insight.

    3. bas of Keat’s head

      Ellmann’s biography of Wilde places the visit to Keats’ grave at the Protestant cemetery as occurring on the same day as Wilde’s audience with the Pope. The description of these two events in separate letters to Tafani suggests otherwise, however. Wilde may have visited the bust twice, or the two events become conflated in the retelling of them by others.

    4. our

      Wilde’s letters but rarely refer to the first-person plural, although he was of course travelling with several companions. That he does so here is suggestive that the visits to sites associated with British literary lions may have been at the prompting of one of his companions.

    5. {Why does he continue on thus and leave the real gem of his thinking to a final postscript on a leaf of hotel paper?}

      Without Tafani’s manuscript lament here, it would be impossible to know that Wilde’s letter arrived with an addendum on a separate sheet. The content or general tone of that addition can only be guessed at on the basis of Tafani’s reply.

    6. dear Hunter

      Wilde’s friend, Hunter Blair, converted to Catholicism in 1875.

    7. G.G. Ramsay

      A professor of humanities from Glasgow, Ramsay met Wilde, Ward and Blair in Rome and acted as guide around the city.

    8. that

      This visit to San Lazzaro degli Armeni formed part of Wilde’s 1875 trip to Italy, also with Mahaffy, as well as with his friend William Goulding.

    9. 1877

      Wilde’s letter appears to have been rather hastily written, as the lack of any form of address suggests. The letter rollicks at times as a stream of consciousness, encapsulating Wilde’s enthusiasm for his new project notwithstanding his correspondent’s gentle disapproval. Wilde makes no mention of the thoughts of his fellow travelling companions on the project, which we can only assume did not go unnoticed, as the writing and rewriting of the first two chapters must surely have taken a good deal of time.

    1. Chapter 3: Miriam's Art

      Although it is difficult to date many of the chapters of Wilde’s novel, the beginning of this chapter happens to be on the verso of a sheet on which Wilde began a letter to his mother, dated 25 April, which he never sent owing to extensive blotting from his pen. This allows us to place the drafting of the chapter after Wilde’s letter to Tafani dated 22 April, but before Tafani’s reply dated 26 April.

    2. CHAPTER 3: MIRIAM’S ART⁠

      Although it is difficult to date many of the chapters of Wilde’s novel, the beginning of this chapter happens to be on the verso of a sheet on which Wilde began a letter to his mother, dated 25 April, which he never sent owing to extensive blotting from his pen. This allows us to place the drafting of the chapter after Wilde’s letter to Tafani dated 22 April, but before Tafani’s reply dated 26 April.

    1. 26th April, 1877,

      It was on this same day, 26 April, that the Magdalen officers lost patience with Wilde’s absence and resolved that he be rusticated and required to complete a portion of work to a required standard before the beginning of the October term, or else risk his Demyship.

    2. Do think of the consequences that losing the term might risk to your classification, and bring back your charming manuscripts and self with haste.⁠

      Tafani’s motivations are here unclear. Although a concern for Wilde’s academic progress is certainly plausible, Wilde’s subsequent double first suggests that the risk to his academic career was slight. The preceding paragraph speaks of Tafani’s jealousy at Wilde’s visit to Rome, and perhaps to the amusement that, implicitly, Wilde and his young friends were enjoying. The stricter tones of “My dear student” and this closing paragraph run counter to the unusual sign-off, “Tafi”, used but rarely elsewhere amongst Tafani’s correspondence, either by the man himself or by his correspondents.

    1. G.G. Ramsay

      A professor of humanities from Glasgow, Ramsay met Wilde, Ward and Blair in Rome and acted as guide around the city.

    2. objets⁠

      The French appears to be intended, rather than a typographical error within the letter.

    3. I do not think this very ugly thing ought to be allowed to remain.

      Wilde made a similar remark in a letter to his mother, evidently pleased with his discriminating insight.

    4. our visits

      Wilde’s letters but rarely refer to the first-person plural, although he was of course travelling with several companions. That he does so here is suggestive that the visits to sites associated with British literary lions may have been at the prompting of one of his companions.

    5. {Why does he continue on thus and leave the real gem of his thinking to a final postscript on a leaf of hotel paper?}⁠

      Without Tafani’s manuscript lament here, it would be impossible to know that Wilde’s letter arrived with an addendum on a separate sheet. The content or general tone of that addition can only be guessed at on the basis of Tafani’s reply on 29 April.

    6. Hunter

      Wilde’s friend, Hunter Blair, converted to Catholicism in 1875.

    7. the city of the laguna and to the island of Saint Lazarus, and the Armenian monastery there

      This visit to San Lazzaro degli Armeni formed part of Wilde’s 1875 trip to Italy, also with Mahaffy, as well as with his friend William Goulding.

    8. 24 April, 1877

      Wilde’s letter appears to have been rather hastily written, as the lack of any form of address suggests. The letter rollicks at times as a stream of consciousness, encapsulating Wilde’s enthusiasm for his new project notwithstanding his correspondent’s gentle disapproval. Wilde makes no mention of the thoughts of his fellow travelling companions on the project, which we can only assume did not go unnoticed, as the writing and rewriting of the first two chapters must surely have taken a good deal of time.

    1. takes the pure image of a young man

      Wilde here eschews Hawthorne’s apologetics regarding the inadequacy of ekphrasis to capture the “magic peculiarity” of the sculpture. What follows echoes the short commentary of Wilde’s first letter to Tafani.

    2. such experiences have wrought themselves on his face in a subtle fashion

      Hilda echoes here the linkage between thoughts and appearances, of which Wilde was so fond, as mentioned in the notes to his first letter.

  3. Jun 2015