She is Wilde about book

She is Wilde about book

She is Wilde about book

First published in Letters

I hope you will allow me to correct a couple of errors in Hannah Collisson’s enthusiastic and colourful account of my new book, Oscar Wilde’s Scandalous Summer (Seven Days, August 23).

Hannah refers to Wilde’s ‘continuing affair’ with Lord Alfred Douglas, but, as I make clear in the book, the sexual side of Wilde’s relationship with Douglas had lasted for only a few months, during the summer of 1892. Sexual relations between them had therefore ended two years before the Worthing holiday of 1894.

Also Arthur Humphreys, with whom Constance Wilde fell in love during the Worthing holiday, was not an author but a book-seller and publisher. Incidentally there is one element of particular interest to Brightonians in the story of Wilde's relationship with Alphonse Conway, the 16-year-old Worthing boy with whom he became sexually involved that summer.

On or about September 27 Wilde took Alphonse to to the Royal Albion Hotel in Brighton for the night.

He was exposed to damaging cross-questioning about this event in court the following year, after he sued Douglas’s father, the Marquess of Queensberry, for libel.

Antony Edmonds

Finchdean

Waterlooville, Hampshire

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