Oscar had been raised as a girl by his mother but does not seem to be interested in an active homosexuality before 1886 when he meets Robert Ross. Ross deliberately violates the English law that prohibited this practice since the previous year. Their friendship will remain steadfast until the death of Oscar even when the writer falls madly in love with Alfred Douglas.
1895 marks a turning point in the life of Oscar Wilde. His play The Importance of being Earnest provides the best example of his wit and subtlety in a plot relying on real and fake identities of the characters, long before Pirandello. In the same year, he claims too loudly his right to homosexuality in the trials for immorality that are brought against him by Alfred's father.
The Importance of being Earnest is published in London in 1899 in quarto size. The author lives in exile in France after being released from the British jails. He warmly dedicates to Ross one of the twelve copies on Japanese vellum. This valuable book was sold for $ 360K including premium by Sotheby's on April 20, 2012. It is now estimated £ 160K for sale by Sotheby's in London on November 24, lot 132.
Robert Ross had a highly important role in preserving the work of Oscar Wilde during his last years and afterward as the executor of his will. The writer owes much to him for his posthumous rehabilitation. The scandal is off. In 1950, on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of Oscar's death, the ashes of Robert Ross are installed in the funerary sculpture commissioned by him and dedicated to the writer at the Père Lachaise cemetery in Paris.
SOLD for £ 197K including premium