Touching Oscar

Okay, perhaps that title is more provocative than the contents of this post will be, but I’ll stand by it, nevertheless.

One of the advantages of having a husband who oversees a large part of the New York Public Library system (although today is his last day! He is on to bigger and much better things!) is that he knows a lot of people.  And a lot of those people oversee rare books.  So when he came home one day bragging that he’d gotten to see Oscar Wilde’s original notebook draft of The Importance of Being Earnest, I narrowed my eyes and said “when do I get to see it?”

I got to see it last week.  I don’t want to get into all the emotional nonsense of what seeing the handwritten text of a work I’d based my own work on was like, but suffice to say it was powerful and a real honor.  I’ve studied Wilde extensively since high school.  He’s one of my literary… well, I’m not a fan of words like idol or role model, but his writing showed me what really great writing could do, and how comedy could have real social power.  So yes, seeing his handwritten draft – complete with edits – was just amazing.

And I got to take photos.

wildes notebook 2 small

wildes notebook small Look at the edits!  Look at the handwriting!

And then, the gentleman who was showing me these things (I forgot to ask permission to name him, so I’ll err on the side of caution and refrain) said “and while you’re here, you may as well see the Shakespeare Folio in the Vault.”

Yes, I was in THE VAULT.  Saw a lot of amazing things, including the Columbus letter, several versions of the constitution, some old Verne… there was a lot.  But I took photos of the Folio, because, well, it seemed symmetrical to do so.

shakespeare folio smalland the title page of 12th Night, of course:

12th night folio small

And while we’re discussing things Shakespearean, I’m also very honored to say that The Folger’s Shakespeare Library has listed All Men of Genius as a resource for those studying 12th Night.  Not only that, but they refer to it as “marvelous” – which is incredibly humbling.  If you’re unaware, Folger’s has the largest, and most would say best, collection of Shakespeare.  They’re experts over there.  I know it probably doesn’t look like much, the book listed alongside many others, but it’s a huge honor and gives real academic credence to the book.

So that’s my news.  Other than that, I’m writing writing writing.  Editing too.  But that’s all for now.