144
144

FROM THE LIBRARY OF THE LATE MR GARY E. PROUK

[Wilde, Oscar]. Rodd, Rennell
ROSE LEAF AND APPLE LEAF. PHILADELPHIA: J.M. STODDART & CO., 1882
LOT SOLD. 438 GBP
JUMP TO LOT
144

FROM THE LIBRARY OF THE LATE MR GARY E. PROUK

[Wilde, Oscar]. Rodd, Rennell
ROSE LEAF AND APPLE LEAF. PHILADELPHIA: J.M. STODDART & CO., 1882
LOT SOLD. 438 GBP
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

English Literature, History, Children’s Books and Illustrations

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[Wilde, Oscar]. Rodd, Rennell
ROSE LEAF AND APPLE LEAF. PHILADELPHIA: J.M. STODDART & CO., 1882
8vo, EDITION DE LUXE, LIMITED TO 175 COPIES, thin transparent handmade paper interleaved throughout with a thin leaf of green tissue, printed in brown ink, Japanese head- and tailpieces, rebound in contemporary green morocco gilt, top edge gilt, housed in folding case and quarter blue cloth slipcase together with an autograph letter signed by Rennell Rodd (3 pages, Venice, "May 2"), slight wear to binding
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Literature

Mason 242

Catalogue Note

James Rennell Rodd (1858-1941) was a contemporary of Wilde’s at Oxford, and was later to have a highly successful diplomatic career. In 1881 Rodd published a volume of verse entitled Songs in the South. The copy Rodd presented to Wilde included an Italian inscription of a curiously prophetic nature, which may be translated as "At your martyrdom the ravenous and vindictive crowd, whom you are addressing, will coalesce. They will mass to witness you on your cross, and not one will take pity on you."

During his visit to America in 1882 Wilde had the volume reprinted as Rose Leaf and Apple Leaf. Wilde provided an introduction, "L’Envoi" as he called it, and edited the book by removing two poems and inserting nine others by Rodd that were previously uncollected. Rodd took exception to some of Wilde'’s sentiments in the introduction, and was particularly irritated by the book'’s effusive new dedication, which was composed by Wilde himself: "To Oscar Wilde – "Heart’s Brother" – these few songs and many songs to come."

This edition was exceptionally well received on publication. Walter Hamilton in The Aesthetic Movement in England, 1882, admired both the book'’s "exquisite attire" and the text that was "most grateful to the reader’'s eyes." Rodd himself, despite misgivings about the altered text, admired the production. On 6 October he wrote to J.M. Stoddart the publisher informing him that he had "seen no édition de luxe in England to compare with it."

The edition was limited to 175 copies (Ellmann, p.188). It was priced at $1.75, but according to Stoddart (see Thomas Mosher'’s edition of 1906) the bookseller Brentano bought a number of copies and persuaded Wilde to autograph the upper covers. He proceeded to sell them on at almost double the original price. It seems likely that this is a "Brentano copy".

Wilde'’s 'L’Envoi', which reveals the increasing influence of Walter Pater’s ideas on his work, later took on a separate existence as 'The English Renaissance of Art'. It was published both as a limited edition essay and as part of later anthologies.

According to a pencil note the letter by Rodd is to Robert Louis Stevenson.

English Literature, History, Children’s Books and Illustrations

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