Oscar Wilde’s ‘cultivated blindness’: Reassessing the Textual and Intellectual History of ‘The Decay of Lying’

Oscar Wilde’s ‘cultivated blindness’: Reassessing the Textual and Intellectual History of... ABSTRACT Drawing on the revelations of the newly recovered fair copy manuscript of ‘The Decay of Lying’, this article reconsiders the rich intellectual context that gave rise to Oscar Wilde’s seminal essay in dialogue. Detailing some of the most important revisions evident in the fair copy demonstrates the degree to which Wilde deliberately refined both his ideas and the form of his essay. The reassessment of Wilde’s compositional process reveals the significance of his undergraduate study of philosophy and modern social thought at Oxford, which is documented in the most substantial of his surviving notebooks. In the light of their origins, the seemingly paradoxical versions of philosophy of mind and natural history that appear in ‘The Decay of Lying’ are shown to be deeply engaged in intellectual debates that students of ‘Greats’ were expected to understand. By challenging prevailing views that the dialogue simply reproduced weakened versions of Pater’s or Baudelaire’s respective aesthetic philosophies, this article identifies previously overlooked textual antecedents and suggests instead that Wilde synthesized a striking range of sources in order to develop a nuanced conception of ‘cultivated blindness’ that opposed literary realism. A textual edition of the manuscript follows the present discussion. Art is our spirited protest, our gallant attempt to teach Nature her proper place. As for the infinite variety of Nature, that is a pure myth. It is not to be found in Nature herself. It resides in the imagination, or fancy, or cultivated blindness, of the man who looks at her. Oscar Wilde, ‘The Decay of Lying’ (1889, revised 1891 and 1894) ‘THE THEORY IS A CERTAINLY A VERY CURIOUS ONE’: DEVELOPING ‘THE DECAY OF LYING’ Three-quarters of the way through Oscar Wilde’s critical essay in dialogue, ‘The Decay of Lying’, the primary speaker Vivian—who dominates the exchanges—gives voice to one of the maxims that defines the aesthetic philosophy he has carefully elaborated from the start: ‘All that I desire to point out’, Vivian begins by saying to his much less vocal interlocutor Cyril, ‘is the general principle that life imitates art far more than art imitates life, and I feel sure that if you think seriously about it you will find that it is true’.1 This boldly worded claim, which runs against an orthodox understanding of mimesis that modern commentators often trace to Aristotle’s Poetics, is consistent in the three published versions of Wilde’s essay, from its first appearance in the January 1889 issue of the monthly Nineteenth Century, to the significantly revised text that Wilde included in Intentions (1891), as well as the one in the 1894 edition of that volume, which features only minor emendations.2 As Wilde reworked the discussion, Vivian’s declaration remained unchanged, but Cyril’s response underwent some telling revisions. In the Nineteenth Century, Cyril replies with the vague comment: ‘The theory is certainly a very curious one’ (NC, 50). His sentiment, however, adopts a more expansive form in the two editions of Intentions, where he continues with the following clauses: ‘but to make it complete you must show that Nature, no less than Life, is an imitation of Art’.3 Then, in a further departure from the 1889 text, Cyril asks Vivian: ‘Are you prepared to prove that?’ The query anticipates the reader’s sceptical reaction, and Vivian quickly addresses such scepticism with certainty: ‘My dear fellow, I am prepared to prove anything’. ‘Nature’, Cyril ventures, ‘follows the landscape painter then, and takes her effects from him?’ (1891, 39; 1894, 39). There follows a protracted 732-word paragraph—one that does not appear in the Nineteenth Century—where Vivian speaks amusingly about such topics as the ‘wonderful brown fogs’ that mark such a recent change ‘in the climate of London’; they are, he says, entirely indebted to ‘the Impressionists.’ ‘They did not exist’, he adds, ‘till Art had invented them’ (1891, 40–41; 1894, 40–41). The considerable scale of these revisions indicates that this was an area of ‘The Decay of Lying’ that Wilde dwelt upon at length. Yet, as we can tell from a newly rediscovered and heretofore unpublished fair copy of the essay (housed at the University of Akron), this part of the critical dialogue had already preyed on Wilde’s mind at an earlier stage. In the manuscript in question, which served as the polished draft that Wilde prepared for the Nineteenth Century, Cyril’s analysis of Vivian’s argument was initially more positive. As this invaluable document shows, in the first instance Cyril retorted as follows: ‘The point is certainly a very curious one and entirely new’.4 Wilde clearly thought better of the sentiment, since he struck the word ‘point’ and inserted ‘theory’, and he also deleted the phrase ‘and entirely new’, substituting a full stop in its place (AK, f.41r). These edits indicate competing motivations: the replacement of ‘point’ with ‘theory’ enlarges the stakes of the claim, while the omission of the crucial wording—‘and entirely new’—removes the bold assertion of originality. The tightening in tenor and phrasing is evident only in the fair copy. This change counts among several of Wilde’s sedulous refinements of his speakers’ counter-intuitive arguments. Such corrections, which are numerous in the Akron manuscript, command our attention because they demonstrate Wilde’s meticulous rethinking of received wisdom about art’s subservience to nature. The revisions in the fair copy, however, are not the only focus of interest in Wilde’s watchful compositional process. The document also shines fresh light on Wilde’s creative and intellectual development while he redrafted what he regarded as ‘the first and best of all [his] dialogues’.5 Studying the manuscript strengthens our knowledge of the remarkable manner in which the essay evolved, in its earliest stages, from an excursus written from Wilde’s own perspective into its spirited dialogue between the male characters, Vivian and Cyril, whom he named after his two young sons. Moreover, given that the fair copy came to attention after modern textual editors had drawn different conclusions about the range of reference in Wilde’s essay, the document occasions further reassessment of the intellectual history that he develops in the exchanges that take place between Vivian and Cyril. As we explain below, the unearthing of the fair copy is especially timely in relation to the recent accessibility of other important manuscript sources. These materials disclose how Wilde’s critical dialogue gave him substantial latitude when engaging with a very wide range of Classical and contemporary texts, ones that embrace Herodotus and Cicero, on the one hand, and Mrs Humphry Ward and Mark Twain, on the other hand. Several of the works to which Wilde both implicitly and explicitly alludes in ‘The Decay of Lying’, as one of his unpublished student notebooks shows, form part of a large corpus of writings that he prepared for his finals in Literæ Humaniores: the demanding interdisciplinary Oxford degree in which he achieved a rare double first. ‘The Decay of Lying’ reveals how far-reaching Wilde’s intensive studies were for his later career as a distinctive critical voice in a respected periodical. Established in 1877, the Nineteenth Century, as Laurel Brake has observed, followed the trend—one led by the Contemporary Review and Fortnightly Review—of publishing signed articles, and it immediately established itself among ‘the most radical [serials] of its period, insofar as it printed side by side theologically and philosophically divergent writing’.6 Intended as a companion to our edition of the Akron manuscript that follows this discussion, our analysis begins with an account of the ways in which the smaller and larger revisions in the fair copy enrich our knowledge of the textual history of ‘The Decay of Lying’. We then proceed to a reassessment of the intellectual sources of what were, for several of Wilde’s contemporaries, the unfamiliar, innovative, and sometimes contradictory critical claims that he establishes—with astonishing allusiveness—throughout his critical dialogue. Especially important are the reasons why Vivian asserts that humankind glories in a ‘cultivated blindness’, a phrase that Wilde inserted in the Akron manuscript (AK, f.2r).7 Such ‘cultivated blindness’—a complicated, because seemingly paradoxical, term that is rooted in Wilde’s distinctive comprehension of art—creates the ‘infinite variety’ that nature sorely lacks. THE AKRON MANUSCRIPT AND THE TEXTUAL HISTORY OF ‘THE DECAY OF LYING’ Prior to the edition that we present here, the most detailed textual study of ‘The Decay of Lying’ appeared in the fourth volume of the Oxford English Texts edition of The Complete Works of Oscar Wilde (2007), where the editor Josephine M. Guy lists the variants of all known editions (apart of course, from the then-unrecovered Akron manuscript), and furnishes extensive commentary on the text; Guy’s annotations, as she points out, build on the earlier (though less comprehensive) editorial labours of Isobel Murray.8 Horst Schroeder’s additional annotations, which he published in a series of contributions to the Wildean, complement (and, at times, also critique) Guy’s efforts.9 Guy’s and Schroeder’s respective editorial approaches vary. Guy, for example, orientates her reading of ‘The Decay of Lying’ towards Walter Pater as Wilde’s presiding critical forbear, although she observes that there is ‘only one direct reference’ to Pater’s writings in the essay.10 She notes, however, that the publication of Pater’s essay, ‘Style’, appeared during the period when Wilde was composing ‘The Decay of Lying’ (in late 1888), and—given that several of Vivian’s comments carry phrasal echoes of Pater’s discussion—it is fair to claim ‘that Pater was likely to have been at the forefront of Wilde’s mind’ while composing his dialogue.11 By contrast, Schroeder insists that ‘Pater is not the right key’ to ‘The Decay of Lying’.12 More pertinent, in his view, is Hilda Schiff’s contention: ‘Wilde’s attack on the idea of nature, and his upgrading of art in opposition to it, is…clearly related to the anti-nature cult in France during the latter part of the nineteenth century, with Baudelaire as its chief priest and Huysmans’s Des Esseintes [in À rebours (1884)] as its general model.’13 Schroeder’s comments, though, go beyond editorial quibbles about the intellectual tradition to which ‘The Decay of Lying’ belongs. He shows little restraint in criticizing what he terms Guy’s ‘sadly inadequate’ shortcomings with regard to her ‘knowledge of Wilde’s oeuvre’ and ‘her familiarity with literature in all its forms’.14 Moreover, he takes pains to correct Guy’s errors and mistaken transcriptions as well as to fill in her omissions (including further references to Pater’s works), although it must be said that his annotations sometimes advert to obscure sources that have questionable relevance to Wilde’s critical dialogue.15 From our perspective, both Guy and Schroeder, for all their differences, provide invaluable insights into many of the critical antecedents, literary references, and textual borrowings that are audible in Wilde’s dialogue, even if the conventions of annotation in textual editions—which focus on glossing names, dates, and allusions—tend to preclude the depth of analysis possible in a more sustained study.16 Given the extent of these scholarly precedents, our contribution to the editing of ‘The Decay of Lying’ intends to augment, and not to supplant or supersede, their accounts. These editors’ indispensable observations provide a platform on which to build a firm understanding of the role that the Akron fair copy played in an essay that Wilde took through several phases of exacting revision. Moreover, Guy’s and Schroeder’s divergent commentaries alert us to some of the broader intellectual currents that position Wilde’s essay as a work that not only takes some of its bearings from Pater and Baudelaire but also from sources that Vivian does not always explicitly name. As a fair copy, the Akron manuscript represents ‘The Decay of Lying’ in an advanced state; it forms the missing link between the fragmented manuscript held in the Berg Collection at the New York Public Library (NYPL) and the version in the Nineteenth Century. In the introduction to her edition of Wilde’s Criticism, Guy discusses the Berg manuscript, whose pages are clearly drawn from multiple drafts, as some are written as a dialogue and others as a conventional essay; she notes that ‘the confusion which followed Wilde’s bankruptcy, and the haphazard way in which his personal papers were subsequently dispersed (some sold, some probably stolen, others “rescued” by friends), easily explains how manuscript folios from different drafts and different works could have later come to be bound together’.17 Guy’s remarks remind us of the difficulties that beset Wilde when he languished in HM Holloway Prison while the Crown undertook proceedings against him for committing acts of gross indecency with other men. Faced with serious debts in addition to these criminal charges, Wilde was forced to auction his household belongings in April 1895.18 Although it is likely that Wilde’s friends salvaged some of his manuscripts from his study before the sale took place, the extant reports on the auction note that batches of Wilde’s books and several artworks and furnishings fetched very low prices, and only cursorily mention the sale of manuscripts, a large number of which later entered salesrooms on both sides of the Atlantic.19 In the circumstances, it is remarkable that the fair copy, together with many of Wilde’s other manuscripts, survived in one piece. There are several smaller and larger revisions in the Akron manuscript that warrant attention. Although the exchanges between Vivian and Cyril are relatively stable in the fair copy, Vivian’s tone is nevertheless sharpened throughout. Early in the manuscript, for example, Vivian archly rejects Cyril’s suggestion that they go outside to lounge upon the grass and talk. The published version reads: ‘Egotism itself, which is so necessary to a proper sense of human dignity, is absolutely the result of indoor life’ (NC, 35). The manuscript reveals several rejected variants: ‘Egotism’ replaces ‘Egoism’; ‘necessary’ overrides ‘essential’; and ‘a proper sense’ expands ‘the sense’ (AK, f.3r). Shifting ‘Egoism’ to ‘Egotism’ clearly amplifies Vivian’s self-regard, thus tying his theory of art to his personality as opposed to a shared human trait. In another instance, the line —‘After all, we are all of us made of the same stuff’—is appended in the Akron manuscript to read: ‘It is a humiliating confession, but we are all of us made out of the same stuff’ (AK, f.13r).20 Vivian’s rare acknowledgement of universal sensibility is promptly undercut through his characterization of it as a ‘humiliating confession’: a caveat that ensures that his comment is taken, not as an endorsement of the shared nature of humankind, but instead as an unfortunate counterpoint to his declarations of his exceptional gifts elsewhere. Minor emendations enhance Vivian’s otherwise sneering condescension towards the vulgar masses. He complains, for example, about the way that characters in contemporary drama ‘talk on the stage exactly as they would talk off it’, noting that such protagonists ‘would pass unnoticed in an Omnibus’ (AK, f.24r). Wilde, noticeably, struck ‘Omnibus’ in favour of ‘a third-class railway carriage’ (AK, f.24r). In addition to eliminating an inelegant repetition (‘omnibus’ also appears in the essay where Vivian cites John Ruskin’s unsparing critique of George Eliot’s fiction21), the third-class carriage obviously calls up a vision of a specifically lower-class passenger. That Wilde was actively considering how best to communicate Vivian’s classist tone is also clear if we trace the evolution of another comment. When we turn to the Berg manuscript, in a folio apparently written before Wilde had introduced the dialogic structure, Wilde in his own critical voice observes that Mrs Humphry Ward’s Robert Elsmere (1888) is a novel of the ‘genre ennuyant’ (grammatically corrected in the printed editions to ‘genre ennuyeux’) before noting that the novel ‘reads like extracts from the sort of conversation that goes on at a meat-tea in the house of a serious Nonconformist family’.22 In the Akron fair copy, by comparison, Wilde revises and expands Vivian’s observation: ‘A thoughtful young friend of mine once told me that likes [Robert Elsmere] because it reminded him of the sort of conversation that goes on at a meat-tea in the house of a serious Nonconformist family, and this is perhaps the highest thing that can be said in its favour’ (AK, f.10r). The last phrase is then struck through and replaced with the following clause: ‘and this is perhaps the highest praise that we can give to it’ (AK, f.10r). In one of the rare significant differences between the Akron manuscript and the version published in the Nineteenth Century, the entire sentence about ‘meat-tea’ is omitted from the periodical text. It returns, though, truncated and moved up slightly in the two later iterations, both of which read: ‘A thoughtful young friend of ours once told us that it reminded him of the sort of conversation that goes on at a meat tea in the house of a serious Nonconformist family, and we can quite believe it’ (1891, 12; 1894, 12). Not only is the ‘highest praise’ comment blunted in the two editions of Intentions; the shift from the first-person singular to the plural—‘friend of mine’ to ‘friend of ours’—also suggests either a more inclusive tone from Vivian, or, conversely, that he is employing the more pretentious, majestic pronoun.23 Furthermore, Wilde’s edits in the Akron manuscript demonstrate an attentive calibration of the finer points of Vivian's aesthetic outlook. These adjustments begin the initial versions of the following sentences in the fair copy, which appear near the start of Vivian’s first extended speech: ‘Art is our spirited protest, our attempt to teach Nature her proper place. As for the infinite variety of Nature, that is a pure myth. It is not to be found in Nature at all, but in the imagination or fancy or whim of the man who looks at her’ (AK, f.2r). In the manuscript, ‘attempt’ is expanded to ‘gallant attempt’, and ‘whim’—in what probably counts as the most noticeable change—transforms into the much more deliberate ‘cultivated blindness’ (AK, f.2r). Creative agency is thus rendered more intentional (since it is ‘cultivated’), though the precise meaning of the collocation of the adjective with the ostensibly negative phenomenon of ‘blindness’ looks incongruous and thus warrants careful scrutiny. ‘Cultivated blindness’, as we demonstrate below, marks a distinct advance on the apparent flippancy of ‘whim’, since the term depends on a ‘theory’—rather than a mere ‘point’—which Wilde had been developing for over a decade. Elsewhere, Cyril’s contributions to the dialogue, which typically punctuate each of Vivian’s pronouncements rather than challenge them, often prompt his companion to clarify an idea. The following is a representative example of this aspect of the dialogue: ‘But in order to avoid making any error I want you to briefly tell me the doctrines of the new æsthetics’ (NC, 55). The Akron fair copy shows ‘Renaissance’ originally in the place of ‘aesthetics’ (AK, f.53r). Wilde probably had good reason to make the change. As Guy notes, when he started drafting ‘The Decay of Lying’ Wilde may have been sensitive to ‘the intellectual shadow cast’ by Pater.24 Pater’s ‘Style’ essay had appeared more recently, though his collection of essays, Studies in the History of the Renaissance (1873), had an enduring influence on Wilde, who later said the volume ‘became to me “the golden book of spirit and sense, the holy writ of beauty”’.25 Avoiding too much similarity with Pater’s Renaissance in a work intended to codify a fresh and inventive new aesthetic philosophy might have been wise. But the alteration in the fair copy suggests that Wilde was attending carefully to the intellectual character of his speakers and not just himself. Vivian had already used ‘Renaissance’ to describe quattrocento art (AK, f.43r) as well as the potential of his own time, insisting to Cyril that his ideas, if heeded, could provoke a new ‘Renaissance of Art’ (AK, 4r).26 The revision to Cyril’s request, asking for clarification on the ‘doctrines of the new aesthetics’ instead of ‘the new Renaissance’, maintains the men’s distinctive voices—if Wilde is conscious of over-borrowing Pater’s diction, here Cyril resists adopting Vivian’s—even as it indicates that the sceptical Cyril recognizes that Vivian’s ideas represent a broadly applicable philosophy rather than a focused description of a cultural epoch. Wilde’s treatment of other writers, to whom there are plentiful allusions, also undergoes some fine-tuning. Certain changes might have been a nod to the reader’s knowledge of familiar sources. When offering an example of an influential suicide, the Nineteenth Century text removes Chateaubriand’s René from the fair copy and inserts Goethe’s better-known Werther instead. Equally noticeable revisions include the manner in which Wilde tips the scales in favour of William Wordsworth’s works inspired by ‘Poetry’ as opposed to those inspired by ‘Nature’. In the fair copy, Vivian originally opined concisely about Wordsworth’s art as follows: ‘Poetry gave him “Laodamia”, and Nature gave him “Peter Bell”’. Wilde, however, decided to expand Vivian’s comments: ‘Poetry gave him “Laodamia”, and the fine sonnets, and the “Ode to Immortality”, and Nature gave him “Martha Ray” and “Peter Bell”’ (AK, f.20r). In elaborating these judgements, as Guy observes, Vivian to some extent builds on Pater’s observation that ‘nowhere is there so perplexed a mixture as in Wordsworth’s own poetry, of work touched with intense and individual power, with work of almost no character at all’.27 To be sure, Vivian follows Pater’s respect for Wordsworth’s ability to capture the ‘intimate consciousness of the expression of natural things’.28 But Vivian also, in this trenchant remark, suggests why Wordsworth produced inferior work. Once Wordsworth took his inspiration from ‘Nature’, instead of representing his consciousness of the natural world, the verse became artless. In the Intentions versions (and not, it is important to realize, in the Nineteenth Century one), Vivian, for good measure, drives his point home by further adding to the list of inadequate poems ‘the address to Mr Wilkinson’s spade’ (‘Spade! with which Wilkinson hath tilled his lands’), since it, too, simply mirrors nature rather than poetically transforms it (1891, 21; 1894, 21).29 As these revisions show, it was Wilde’s habit to reflect upon, and then correct, the insights that Vivian develops in a tone that offsets facetious dismissiveness with philosophical seriousness. That Wilde decided to translate his earliest draft into the form of leisurely conversation between two well-read young gentlemen alerts us to the fact that he ultimately did not want Vivian’s words to be mistaken entirely for his own. The Berg manuscript, it is worth bearing in mind, begins not with Vivian, but Wilde making this definitive statement: ‘One of the chief causes of the curiously commonplace character of most modern /of the literature of our age\ is undoubtedly , the decay of Lying as an art, a science, and a social pleasure’.30 Such a strong-minded opening makes Wilde appear, in his own person, not only dogmatic but also bombastic. Once he reassigns the sentence to Vivian, however, the dialogic form enables the character’s voice to sound agile, playful, and provocative. In the next section, where we explore the intellectual history that underpins ‘The Decay of Lying’, we can see how the persona of Vivian provides Wilde with an opportunity to engage in thought-experiments with versatile stylishness, through rhetorical flourishes, satirical forays, and epigrammatic wit that enable him to keep reassessing and reshaping the ‘theory’ that ‘life imitates art far more than art imitates life’. Moreover, Vivian’s account of design and nature demonstrates the degree to which Wilde’s dialogue stages syntheses of well over a decade’s worth of intensive reading, and not merely the recapitulation of the ideas he found in a few favoured models. FROM ‘NATURE’S LACK OF DESIGN’ TO THE ‘LOST ART OF LYING’: WILDE’S INTELLECTUAL SYNTHESES In all of the three published versions, Wilde opens ‘The Decay of Lying’ with Cyril returning from the terrace of an English country house, where he discovers Vivian enjoying his time in the library. The moment, Cyril says, has surely come for the two of them to take a stroll and enjoy the ‘perfectly lovely afternoon’: ‘don’t coop yourself up all day’, he says to his friend. ‘Let us go’, Cyril insists, ‘and lie on the grass and smoke cigarettes and enjoy nature’ (NC, 35). Vivian proves unwilling to do any such thing. ‘Enjoy nature!’ he scoffs. ‘I am glad to say that I have entirely lost that faculty’ (NC, 35). Vivian’s mockery of received wisdom about the romantic splendours of the natural world gathers pace when he focuses on the role that art is supposed to play in the artistic elevation of nature. ‘People’, Vivian observes, ‘tell us that art makes us love nature more than we loved her before’, though he counters that ‘the more we study art, the less we care for nature’ (NC, 35). This conclusion implicitly rebuts the assertions that Wordsworth famously made in the ‘Preface’ to Lyrical Ballads (1802), just as it shows little patience with the touchstones of German Romanticism that Thomas Carlyle brought to the attention of British readers in the 1820s and 1830s. Wordsworth maintains that ‘it is possible that poetry may give other enjoyments, of a purer, more lasting, and more exquisite nature’, since those pleasures raise our awareness of the truth ‘that the mind of man [is] naturally the mirror of the fairest and most interesting qualities of nature’, which are of course not only permanent but also perfect.31 Carlyle counters that nature remains a subtle force that persists beyond human comprehension (‘Nature, it might seem, strives, like a kind mother, to hide from us even this, that she is a mystery: she will have us rest on her beautiful and awful bosom as if it were our secure home’); for this reason, her indecipherable presence means that she endures as ‘the mother of all highest Art, which only apes her from afar’.32 Yet for all their disagreement about the extent to which humankind and nature are either in harmony or disharmony with each other, Wordsworth and Carlyle converge on a cardinal point: nature both creates the conditions in which artworks are possible and sets the terms according to which art must imitate and thus appreciate her altogether higher laws. Vivian, as we have seen, firmly disagrees. As it develops, however, Vivian’s standpoint is much more than a cursory dismissal of the high value which Romantic thinkers have influentially staked upon art’s intimate relation with nature. His ensuing comments turn to an older debate that still had considerable impact on the generation of university students to which Wilde belonged, a debate that, as one of Wilde’s university notebooks demonstrates, he was both aware of and engaged in. ‘What art really reveals to us’, Vivian says, ‘is nature’s lack of design, her curious crudities, her extraordinary monotony, her absolutely unfinished condition’ (NC, 35). Such phrasing does not just repudiate nature’s perfection; it also points to the largely theological discussion about God’s design in nature that derives from Bishop Butler’s Analogy of Religion (1736). In this work, which exerted immense influence on moral philosophy for more than a century afterwards, Butler made what was for its time the striking observation that through ‘the appearances of design and of final causes in the constitution of nature’, there was proof of the existence of an ‘acting agent’ who was ‘an intelligent designer’.33 Almost seventy years later, the belief that God’s designs were observable through natural evidence acquired a strongly scientific aspect in William Paley’s Natural Theology (1802). Paley’s study, which became a staple of university degrees, famously opens with the anecdote of the man who stubs his foot on a pocket-watch while cutting his path across a heath. As the pedestrian examines the complex mechanism, he is led to infer ‘that the watch must have had a maker’.34 The watch, in this framing metaphor, is the heuristic device that enables the individual to acknowledge the Creator’s design. ‘Contrivance’, as Paley puts it, ‘must have had a contriver; design, a designer’.35 At Oxford in the 1860s, Montagu Burrows—the first Chichele Professor of Modern History at Oxford—advised his readers taking ‘lit. hum.’ (as it was commonly known) or ‘Greats’ (as it was nicknamed by this time) that even if Butler’s Analogy enjoyed much less ‘direct encouragement’ in the examinations than during previous years, ‘its indirect value’ remained immense, since it provided a powerful link between philosophy and religion.36 As far as Paley’s Evidences was concerned, Burrows described it as the ‘standard book’ for the examination in divinity.37 It appears, at least from his Oxford contemporary Douglas Sladen, that Wilde took the pass examination in divinity (known as ‘Rudiments’) not in the least seriously. After arriving late for the viva voce, Sladen recalls, the examiners punished Wilde by making him write out at length the twenty-seventh chapter of the Acts.38 By the time that he was studying for his finals, however, Wilde made himself acquainted with the enduring arguments about God’s design through the essays of J. B. Mozley, who held the Regius Chair of Divinity at Oxford from 1871 until his death in 1878. Mozley’s name arises in those parts of Wilde’s compendious ‘Philosophy’ notebook (most probably dating from 1877), where he contemplates the meaning of consciousness. In the process of considering the ‘Laws of Thought’ and ‘the relations of mind to matter’, Wilde itemizes the views of Descartes (‘absolute dualism’), Malebranche (‘occasional causes’ courtesy of ‘God’s intervention’), and Leibnitz (‘pre-established harmony’) before asserting that ‘Mozley takes the externality of nature for granted—a whole system’ that is separate from mind.39 In ‘The Argument of Design’ (1869), Mozley expands upon Paley’s natural theology through a series of defiant disputes with Darwinian thinkers, such as George Henry Lewes, who—in Mozley’s words—‘objects to the existence of Design in Nature, upon the ground of certain irregularities in Nature’; to Mozley, given his adherence to Paley’s Evidences, it proves impossible to countenance Lewes’s negative ‘hypothesis of Nature’ because ‘Man’, without question, ‘is the great disclosure of design in nature’, in which ‘design’ signifies a purposeful end.40 For this reason, Mozley maintains that human beings remain at the mercy of ‘an inexorable law, some deep necessity in Nature’, which we simply cannot cognize: ‘Our own consciousness of life is not in the least connected with the idea of mechanism or contrivance; we feel life, we think, we are what we are, without the slightest inward thought of subtle apparatus which is necessary for the result’.41 Instead, Wilde contends that such followers of natural theology (Carlyle included) dare not risk engaging ‘in the premature reaping of great thoughts’ through consciousness but are ‘always analyzing the wheels of the machine’ that an external nature keeps turning (PN, f.113v). As ‘The Decay of Lying’ unfolds, the imprint of Wilde’s undergraduate protest against the tradition of natural theology comes into even sharper focus when Vivian asserts: ‘Nothing is clearer than that Nature hates Mind’ (NC, 36). This resonant remark, which reiterates Vivian’s disbelief that nature remains not only external but also superior to humankind, relates to Wilde’s incisive critique of the tradition that Mozley represents. Wilde recorded this summary in his notebook: ‘Mozley: “No man can call to mind at any moment the 1000th part of his knowledge”’ (PN, f.113v).42 To Wilde, mind is, conversely, a remarkable phenomenon that operates beyond consciousness and involves the neurological processes that scientists of the time were identifying with the action of the cerebral cortex: Mind is not consciousness: it is far wider: the brain or mind is continually working without our knowing it. In so far as there is consciousness, there is mental activity, but not vice versa: there are no flashes of thought or sudden thoughts. (PN, f.113v). Once Wilde focuses on the specific workings of consciousness, he expresses his dissatisfaction with the manner in which Mozley (the theorist of God’s design in Nature) and Carlyle (the Romantic advocate of Nature’s higher order) concur: ‘Carlyle and Mozley both meet in the same idea . that consciousness is a sort of . mental disease . “genius is unconscious”’ (PN, f.113v).43 Wilde found Mozley’s line of thought similar to Carlyle’s assertion in ‘Characteristics’ that ‘genius is ever a secret to itself’: ‘Unconsciousness’, Carlyle asserts, ‘belongs to pure unmixed life; Consciousness to a diseased mixture and conflict of life and death’.44 In Wilde’s view, the very idea that ‘Mind’ might be the repository of a creative consciousness that could reshape ‘Nature’ was clearly alien to the models that Mozley and Carlyle proposed. It is instructive to look at the philosophical frameworks that Wilde in his notebook favoured when contemplating the shaping force that mind—through the operations of consciousness—brings to nature. He mentions, if only in passing, the writings of Immanuel Kant, as well as those of Thomas Hill Green, who became Whyte’s Professor of Moral Philosophy at Oxford in 1878. Especially important to Wilde was Green’s interest in the Kantian dictum that ‘the understanding makes nature’—the ‘somewhat startling expression’, in Green’s view, that brought about a ‘revolution in philosophy’.45 In his analysis of his own rendering in German of Kant’s statement (‘Macht zwar Verstand die Natur, aber er schafft sie nicht’), Green glosses the phrasing as follows: ‘The understanding “makes” nature, but out of a material which it does not make’.46 As Green pursues this line of inquiry, he contends ‘that a form of consciousness, which we cannot explain as of natural origin, is necessary to our conceiving an order of nature’.47 Wilde crystallizes Green’s position succinctly: ‘Green. “the feeling of our agreement | with nature is that we have | made her the means to our | ends”’ (PN, 56r). One can identify in Green’s writings, which collect many of the lectures he delivered at Oxford, countless formulations that support the view that mind (through the faculty of consciousness) fashions nature: ‘Nature’, he says, ‘is the system of related appearances, and related appearances are impossible apart from the action of an intelligence’.48 Green was not of course the only thinker whose reasoning on the relations between mind and nature attracted Wilde. Even though the ‘Philosophy’ notebook does not mention the work of the Scottish psychologist Alexander Bain by name, there are sufficient echoes in Wilde’s notes to show that he was familiar with Mental and Moral Science (1868). Like Green, who wrote extensively on David Hume, Bain’s approach to this question derived in large part from the empiricist tradition, as we can clearly see when he observes: ‘The prevailing doctrine is that a tree is something in itself apart from all perception; that by its luminous emanations, it impresses our mind and is then perceived; the perception being an effect, and the unperceived tree the cause. But the tree is known only through perception; what it may be anterior to, or independent of, perception, we cannot tell; we can think of it as perceived, but not as unperceived’.49 Such propositions are consonant with Vivian’s assertion that thinkers who adhere to the precepts guiding the Analogy of Religion cannot admit that mind is an active—and, what is more, central—principle to the constitution of an ‘imperfect’ nature that is ‘full of horrid little black insects’ (NC, 35). To Vivian, there is certainly no nature prior to the perception of it, and, more to the point, from his bold perspective—which develops the idea more radically than either Green or Bain—it is the manner in which mind exerts its intelligence that constitutes the very idea of nature itself. Just over a decade after he committed these powerful ideas about the category of mind to his notebook, Wilde translated his objections into a theory that advanced the purpose of art through a fresh inflection of the word ‘design’. When Vivian observes ‘nature’s lack of design’, he is not just rejecting Butler, Paley, and Mozley; he is also concentrating attention on the alternate meaning of ‘design’, in the sense of the artistic shaping of materials, as distinct from a perfect nature structured according to divine laws. ‘When I look at a landscape’, Vivian remarks, ‘I cannot help seeing all its defects’ (NC, 35). Were it not the fact, he contends, that nature remains ‘imperfect’, there would be no need for art: ‘Art is our spirited protest, our gallant attempt to teach Nature her proper place’ (NC, 35). Such a statement adds to the determined challenges that prominent Victorian intellectuals made to the waning intellectual tradition of natural theology, which continued to generate conflicts until at least the fin de siècle.50 This intellectual background assists in clarifying why Vivian cannot stand ‘the wearisome uncomfortable Nature’ (that is, the ‘hard and lumpy and damp’ grass) that Cyril wants to celebrate (NC, 36).51 Vivian’s sceptical rebuttal of the ‘infinite variety of Nature’, as Schroeder notes, certainly recalls a well-known phrase from Antony and Cleopatra, where Domitius Enobarbus comments on Cleopatra’s beauty: ‘Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale | Her infinite variety’.52 Moreover, Schroeder observes that Vivian’s comment serves as a riposte to ‘John Addington Symonds who, in an essay from 1887, had claimed: “Art will never match the infinite variety and subtlety of nature”’.53 Yet one can surely hear Pater’s observation in ‘Style’ that ‘the matter of imaginative and artistic literature’ is ‘the transcript, not of mere fact, but of fact in its infinite variety as modified by human preference, in all its infinitely varied forms’.54 To Vivian, the phrase that captures this active, thoughtful, and creative quality of ‘Mind’ is ‘cultivated blindness’, which marked a change—as we note above—from the original ‘whim’ recorded in the Akron manuscript. The apparent contradictoriness of ‘cultivated blindness’ complicates the artistic agency that injects ‘variety’ and ‘design’ into an otherwise uninspiring natural world. Vivian’s interest lies in theorizing the manner in which humankind develops art forms in order to modify—if not wholly transform—nature. Wilde’s critical attitude toward the tradition that finds God’s design in nature assists in elucidating several other observations that Vivian develops. ‘Nature’, Vivian asserts in one of the additions to the Intentions versions, through phrasing that implicitly repudiates Carlyle, ‘is no great mother who has borne us. She is our creation. It is in our brain that she quickens to life. Things are because we see them, and what we see, and how we see it, depends on the Arts that have influenced us’ (1891, 40; 1894, 40). The distinction with natural theology could not be clearer: it is mind that brings about each individual’s incomplete and always partial understanding of nature. On this basis, literary works that assume that it is the business of art to reflect an external reality with total clarity will prove singularly uninventive: ‘If’, Vivian observes, we take Nature to mean natural simple instinct as opposed to self-conscious culture, the work produced under this influence is always old-fashioned, antiquated, and out of date. One touch of Nature may make the whole world kin, but two touches of Nature will destroy any work of Art. If, on the other hand, we regard Nature as the collection of phenomena external to man, people only discover in her what they bring to her. She has no suggestions of her own. (1891, 20-21; 1894, 20-21)  The extract, as Guy suggests, bolsters its point through a reference to a well-known line from Shakespeare’s Troilus and Cressida.55 At the same time, it echoes James Whistler’s invocation of the phrase when he countered Shakespeare’s sentiment by insisting that the ‘one touch of nature’, the ‘one unspoken sympathy that pervades humanity’, was ‘Vulgarity!’—something to be resisted.56 Beyond these references, Vivian is making the larger philosophical point that nature, whether regarded as a congenital intuition or a reality discrete from mind, will always remain inert, familiar, and uninspiring. As Wilde had already established in the Nineteenth Century text, it would take several more paragraphs, together with a host of carefully arranged allusions, before Vivian makes clear the full implications of the manner in which ‘cultivated blindness’ transmutes what might otherwise appear to be a tedious external reality, a point he demonstrates by assessing other writers’ work. In order to develop his thesis, Vivian asks that Cyril listen to him read aloud ‘The Decay of Lying: A Protest’, the essay he has prepared for the ironically titled Retrospective Review, which opens with the following declaration: ‘One of the chief causes of the curiously commonplace character of most of the literature of our age is undoubtedly the decay of lying as an art, a science, and a social pleasure. The ancient historians gave us delightful fiction in the form of fact; the modern novelist presents us with dull facts under the guise of fiction’ (NC, 37). Even though Vivian’s comments alert us to the idea that the art of lying involves the invention of ‘delightful fiction’ (he later asserts that the Greek historian Herodotus was the ‘Father of Lies’), he delays explaining such artfulness while concentrating first on the ‘commonplace’ shortcomings of modern realist and naturalist novels that adopt their ‘dull facts’ from nature (NC, 37, 45, 44, 37). Especially contemptible for Vivian are Émile Zola’s controversial works of fiction, including L’Assommoir (1877), Nana (1880), and Pot-Bouille (1882), which from his perspective uphold the following questionable principle that he attributes to the French author: ‘M. Zola, true to the lofty principle that he lays down in one of his pronunciamientos on literature, “L’homme de génie n’a jamais d’esprit”, is determined to show that, if he has not got genius, he can at least be dull’ (NC, 39). As readers of Zola’s Le Roman expérimental (1880) know, the phrasing that the French novelist used reads somewhat differently: ‘Un homme de genie n’est pas spirituel, et il fallait un homme de génie pour fixer magistralement le formule naturaliste’ (‘A man of genius is not spiritual, and it took a man of genius to determine masterfully the naturalist formula’).57 Vivian’s unforgiving distortion of Zola’s proposition, which he wryly describes as a soi-disant revolutionary pronouncement, sets the tone for the ensuing tirade that wittily tears to pieces not only the novels in Zola’s Rougon-Macquart cycle but also the works of other prominent realists, including Alphonse Daudet (whose protagonists have been ‘taken directly from life’) and Paul Bourget (who mistakenly assumes that ‘the men and women of modern life are capable of being infinitely analysed’) (NC, 39). To Vivian, the lifeless empiricism of modern fiction, no matter how much praise such works have garnered, makes most of it ‘unreadable’: an epithet that, had it been placed in Wilde’s mouth, would have sounded more than a little opinionated (NC, 40). Vivian’s blunt dismissal gives Cyril the cue, in his longest piece of dialogue, to offer a defence of an English realist novel that had recently commanded respect, enjoyed popularity, and stirred up religious debate: Ward’s Robert Elsmere, which the Times characterized as a ‘clever attack on revealed religion’ and Gladstone (bearing the Times review in mind) called ‘a devout attempt…to simplify the difficult mission of religion in the world by discarding the supposed lumber of the Christian theology’.58 The novel tells the story of a young Oxford-trained clergyman who experiences a severe crisis of faith when he realizes that he can no longer accept ‘Christian evidence’ on historical grounds.59 Unsettled in part by the German Higher Criticism, he subjects the Bible to empirical study. As Ward’s narrator observes: ‘poor Elsmere…pounced feverishly on one test point after another, on the Pentateuch, the Prophets, the relation of the New Testament to the thoughts and beliefs of its time’.60 He tries to settle his religious doubts, ones that exert terrible pressure on his loyal Evangelical spouse, through a social mission to lift people out of poverty. No wonder Cyril finds that Green’s philosophy ‘sugars the somewhat bitter pill’ of Ward’s solemn subject matter (NC, 40). This comment certainly deepens the impression that even if Cyril claims to be ‘devoted’ to Robert Elsmere, his fervour is satirical: ‘As a statement of the problems that confront the earnest Christian’, he admits, ‘it is ridiculous and antiquated. It is simply Arnold’s Literature and Dogma with the literature left out. It is as much behind the age as Paley’s Evidences, or Colenso’s method of Biblical exegesis’ (NC, 40). Cyril’s allusions are revealing. While it is clear that in the 1860s and 1870s Bishop John Colenso’s attempts to adduce the historical facticity of the Pentateuch bears some comparison with Paley’s evidence-based methods, the writings of both men were the subject of sharp criticism from Matthew Arnold. In Literature and Dogma (1873), Arnold makes the controversial assertion that ‘God’ is best seen as ‘a literary term’ (that is, an imaginative signifier), rather than a phenomenon that results from revealed religion.61 Arnold boldly states that individuals ‘mean different things’ by ‘God’ according to the ways in which ‘their consciousness differs’.62 His approach to religious experience expresses little patience with what he calls the ‘scientific’ assumptions about the ‘God of the Old Testament’ as a ‘great Personal First Cause’: ‘Learned religion’, Arnold observes, in a gesture towards the tradition starting with Butler, ‘proves or confirms this by abstruse reasoning from our ideas of cause, design, existence, identity, and so on’.63 As Guy reminds us, Colenso, too, had come under close inspection from Arnold. Unforgivingly, in ‘The Bishop and the Philosopher’ (1863) Arnold viewed Colenso’s literal-minded account of the evident errors in the Pentateuch as ‘a great public act of self-humiliation’.64 Particularly misguided, in Arnold’s view, were the arithmetical exercises in which Colenso indulged in order to assess the factual accuracy of the Old Testament: ‘“Allowing 20 as the marriageable age”’, Arnold states while quoting loosely from Colenso, ‘“how many years are required for the production of 3 generations?” The answer to that sum disposes (on the Bishop’s plan) of the Book of Genesis’.65 In the light of the wisdom Arnold brings to bear on the methods individuals have used to explore the facticity of God’s design, it is not surprising that Cyril concludes that Ward’s realism transcribes what was clearly a superannuated debate. Here one begins to grasp the argumentation that illuminates Vivian’s memorable concept of ‘cultivated blindness’, which emerges once more in a well-chosen metaphor from his essay: ‘Art finds her own perfection within, and not outside, herself. She is not to be judged by any external standard of resemblance. She is a veil, rather than a mirror’ (NC, 46). The contrast with Ward’s realist methods, together with her representation of religious doubt, is stark. As Cyril’s comparisons to Colenso and Arnold demonstrate, the 1888 novel was not in any way innovative, either in its form or subject. In some ways, Cyril’s remarks resound with Pater’s main reservation about the novel. Even though Pater found much to commend in Ward’s ‘special ethical gift’—a ‘delicately intuitive sympathy’ with her women characters—he cannot refrain from noting that ‘the sort of doubts which troubled Robert Elsmere are no novelty in literature’, since they have already been voiced in Ernest Renan’s Vie de Jésus (1863).66 From this perspective, Ward’s approach to fiction, even in Cyril’s eyes, looks inartistic because it repeats ideas that have been in circulation for at least a quarter of a century. At this juncture, Vivian begins to substitute ‘Life’ for ‘Nature’ as he itemizes numerous examples from cultural history—including Shakespeare’s late plays, the English melodrama, and ‘modern tapestry’—which reveal that any play, poem, narrative or artwork that appeals to ‘Life’ is destined to devolve upon ‘the general ground of dulness’ (NC, 45). This is especially true of modern historical writings, which in his view cannot live up to Carlyle’s French Revolution (1837), a work that Vivian amusingly styles as ‘one of the most fascinating historical romances ever written’ (NC, 45). Without naming names, he deplores the vulgarization of historiography: ‘Facts’, he drily observes, ‘are not merely finding a footing in history, but they are usurping the domain of Fancy, and have invaded the kingdom of Romance’ (NC, 45). On a more personal note, Vivian makes a passing allusion to a recent criticism of Wilde’s The Happy Prince and Other Tales (1888), a volume which—in the opinion of the Saturday Review—indulges in inaccuracies: ‘No doubt there will always be critics who…will gravely censure the teller of fairy tales for his defective knowledge of natural history’ (NC, 46).67 As Vivian sees it, such criticisms are completely misconceived, since they are a symptom of the witless empiricism that he believes has come to dominate artistic culture. At the same time, Vivian points out that ‘facts’ are not simply to blame for making art dull; their deleterious influence on literature has led to an absurd result where a dismal reality becomes the mirror of the most vulgar popular fiction. Vivian deplores the phenomenon of young readers performing copycat crimes that take their inspiration from the degraded novels that they consume. He roundly condemns the ‘silly boys who, after reading the adventures of Jack Sheppard or Dick Turpin, pillage the stalls of unfortunate apple-women, break into sweet-shops at night, and alarm old gentlemen’ by assaulting them ‘with black masks and loaded revolvers’ (NC, 48). Such youngsters are simply ‘Fact, occupied, as Fact usually is, with trying to reproduce Fiction’ (NC, 48). These observations urge Vivian towards elaborating one of his main theses: namely, that ‘Life holds the mirror up to art’ (NC, 50). It is a reversal of the famous aphorism from Hamlet, which Vivian also mentions, ‘about Art holding the mirror up to Nature’ (NC, 46).68 Here Vivian is drawing in part on Wilde’s brief review of the designer Selwyn Image’s lecture on ‘literary art’ at Willis’s Rooms London, in December 1887. As Guy notes, Wilde sums up Image’s leading point about ‘original and creative’ art as follows: ‘Art, in a word, must not content itself simply with holding the mirror up to nature, for it is a re-creation more than a reflection, and not a repetition, but rather a new song’.69 Vivian’s echo of Wilde’s review points to the fact that the principle at stake is one central to modern aestheticism: the movement that, as scholars widely appreciate, developed its insights in large part from the ‘Conclusion’ to Pater’s Studies in the History of the Renaissance, where we learn that the finest aesthetic experience arises from intense moments that produce ‘the love of art for art’s sake’—a love that is the ‘fruit of a quickened, multiplied consciousness’ (a generative consciousness, in other words, which creates rather than duplicates).70 The idea that ‘Life’ remains subordinate to art’s formidable influence inspires several of the most memorable statements in Wilde’s essay. ‘The nineteenth century, as we know it’, Vivian asserts, ‘is largely an invention of Balzac’, whom he describes as ‘no more a realist that Holbein was’, since he ‘created life’ rather than chose to ‘copy it’ (NC, 48, 41). By inverting the convention that Balzac pioneered realism, Vivian emphasizes Balzac’s ‘imaginative reality’ as opposed to Zola’s ‘unimaginative realism’, vaunting the gifts of the former because he subjugated the real world to the imagination, and scorning the deficiencies of the latter because he did the opposite (NC, 41).71 And when it comes to the West’s knowledge of Eastern culture, the perception of its reality relies on artistic images and representations rather than empirical truths: ‘The Japanese people are the deliberate creation of certain artists’, such as Hokusai and Hokkei (NC, 52). Later, when he returns to the example of Holbein, Vivian observes that the Dutch artist’s portraits of ‘the men and women of his time impress us with a sense of their absolute reality’ (NC, 53). The upshot is that this impression is an admirable illusion, since it is the role of great art to make ‘life’ accept the painter’s ‘conditions’, and thus ‘to restrain itself within his limitations’ (NC, 53). Here Vivian elaborates a significant point that he has already started to develop: ‘the limitation, the very condition of any art is style’ (NC, 43). His concept of ‘style’, with its connection to restraint, might remind us of Pater’s praise for the discipline a literary author brings to the selection of words when producing poetry or prose: ‘Self-restraint, a skilful economy of means, ascêsis…has a beauty of its own’.72 But where Pater advocates the type of discipline associated with the Greek ideal of physical exercise (the root meaning of ἄσκησις), Vivian boldly suggests that ‘style’—no matter how restrained by the precise artistic medium in which it expresses itself—exerts (as in the case of Holbein) a powerful force that demands that ‘life…accept his conditions’ (NC, 53). ‘It is style’, Vivian insists, ‘that makes us believe in a thing’, since it shapes life to its own purposes and no one else’s (NC, 53). The eager manner in which Vivian crowds his discussion with references to such figures as Balzac, Hokusai, and Holbein becomes particularly evident when he takes the next decisive step in his argument: the need to ‘revive this lost art of lying’ (NC, 47). While editors have acknowledged the presence of Hamlet and Image (as well as Pater, who remains a reining, even if a largely unnamed, presence) in Vivian’s polemic, they have not grasped how the title of his essay comes from a familiar recent source: Mark Twain’s ‘On the Decay of the Art of Lying’, which the American author collected in The Stolen White Elephant (1882), published by James R. Osgood—who was also the publisher of Intentions. Wilde had already praised Twain, who was a social acquaintance, very highly in a brief commentary on a recent article, ‘English as She Is Taught’, which the American author contributed to the Century Magazine in 1887. Wilde enjoyed Twain’s amusing summation of the ways in which the American ‘child-philosopher’ mishears snippets of proverbial wisdom and re-moulds them in completely unexpected and thus hilarious forms. At the head of Wilde’s list is this example: ‘Some of the best fossils are found in theological cabinets’.73 (One might imagine this misconstruction captivated Wilde because it unintentionally characterizes the out-datedness of works such as Paley’s Evidences.) Wilde regarded these scrambled sayings, when they are taken in toto, as ‘the best epigram upon modern life’.74 Twain’s ‘On the Decay of the Art of Lying’ similarly appeals to the wisdom of children, on this occasion focusing on ‘that venerable proverb: Children and fools always speak the truth’, with the strong implication that ‘adults and wise persons never speak it’.75 Twain proceeds to observe that a ‘habitual truth-teller is simply an impossible creature’. No one, he claims, tells the truth all the time, since the capacity for lying is an artful practice that serves as ‘a recreation, a solace, a refuge in time of need, the fourth Grace, the tenth Muse, man’s best and surest friend’.76 Twain aims to defend lying as an art, but not lying as art per se. He states that he has no interest in supporting ‘the injurious truth’, just as he has no time for ‘the injurious lie’; instead, he wishes to celebrate what it means ‘to lie thoughtfully, judiciously…to lie for others’ advantage’.77 The intention—the lie for the advantage of others—is of central importance here. There is little in Twain’s commentary to suggest that the art of lying is anything more than a discipline in which we need ‘to train ourselves’ in order to maintain social decorum.78 Thus, allowing that the truth can be ‘brutal’, Twain’s essay presents an America where the failure to lie ‘thoughtfully, judiciously’ results in social awkwardness.79 Wilde’s essay is a departure, presenting an America where the failure to lie has doomed the nation’s art and morals as well as its drawing-room politics. Vivian’s invective against the United States demonstrates the expansiveness of his ‘theory’: ‘The crude commercialism of America, its materialising spirit, its indifference to the poetical side of things, and its lack of imagination and of high, unattainable ideals, are entirely due to that country having adopted for its national hero, a man, who according to his own confession, was incapable of telling a lie, and it is not too much to say that the story of George Washington and the cherry-tree has done more harm, and in a shorter space of time, than any other moral tale in the whole of literature’. (NC, 45) This is an outspoken claim. But it remains indicative of not just the aesthetic theory that Vivian is unravelling but also the larger political stakes of Wilde’s project. Although his aims exceed those of Twain’s essay, Wilde surely had it in mind, together with several other sources stretching back to the Lying Clubs of the early modern period, when he developed Vivian’s tongue-in-cheek suggestion that the time is ripe for a ‘short primer, “When to Lie and how”’, which—‘if brought out in an attractive and not too expensive form’—would sell well and instruct ‘many earnest and deep-thinking people’ (NC, 54). Among the most sophisticated articles that has a strong bearing on this aspect of Wilde’s critical dialogue is the Shakespeare scholar C. Elliot Browne’s 1877 ‘The Art of Lying’, a well-informed lament for the ‘unhappy death’ in modern culture of ‘the real masterpieces of art, the heroic fictions of the honest artist who lies for lying’s sake’.80 Particularly galling to Browne is the empirical outlook that specialists have brought to Classical studies of history. Here Herodotus’s Histories is a case in point. ‘It is not too much to say’, Browne observes, ‘that the persevering malignity of the Rowlinsons—the General and the Canon—has destroyed the reputation of two thousand years’.81 Together with his brother Henry Rawlinson, George Rawlinson—who was Camden Professor of Ancient History at Oxford when ‘The Decay of Lying’ appeared—adopted an evidential approach that affirmed the veracity of the Histories, an effort not dissimilar to Colenso’s standpoint on the Pentateuch. Browne bemoans the fact that, according to the Rawlinsons, ‘the description of the lake-dwelling people, the relation of the strange custom of the couvade, the parricidal cannibalism of the Massagetæ and a half-score other marvels which foolish people once boggled at, are discovered to be gospel truths’.82 When we see Vivian take a swipe at ‘the shallow and ungenerous attempts of modern sciolists to verify [Herodotus’s] history’, it is plain that Wilde was deeply acquainted with this debate. Once Vivian starts listing his additional examples—‘the published speeches of Cicero and the biographies of Suetonius; in Tacitus at his best; in Pliny’s Natural History; in Hanno’s Periplus’, among many others—they sound, in some respects, like condensed versions of the similar ones on which Browne dwells at much greater length (NC, 45).83 Browne’s essay also anticipates Vivian’s contempt for the modern press. As Vivian reads his essay aloud, he informs Cyril that modern newspapers have taken the ‘art of lying’ in an uncreative direction: ‘Lying for the sake of a monthly salary is of course well known in Fleet Street, and the profession of a political leader-writer is not without its advantages. But it is said to be a somewhat dull occupation, and it certainly does not lead to much beyond a kind of ostentatious obscurity. The only form of lying that is absolutely beyond reproach is lying for its own sake, and the highest development of this is, as we have already pointed out, lying in Art’. (NC, 54) Browne, given his interest in the early modern period, traces the manner in which ‘newspapers gave an immense impetus to the art of lying’ back to the early seventeenth century, the period that marks ‘the very infancy of journalism’, which revelled in telling tall tales about such phenomena as a ‘Strange Monstrous Serpent or Dragon’ recently said to have taken human lives near Horsham, Sussex.84 He finds comparable far-fetched stories in papers from the 1860s. Yet, when juxtaposing their arguments, the main distinction between Browne’s and Wilde’s respective approaches to lying as an ‘art’ runs as follows: where Browne suggests repurposing the Elizabethan ‘game of brag’ for modern schoolchildren, Wilde insists that ‘Lying’ is ‘the proper aim of Art’. Wilde, in other words, synthesizes a rich and varied ensemble of sources in order to produce what is ultimately a distinctive aesthetic philosophy, an aim that none of the other writers he cites aspired to fulfil. ‘MR WILDE HAS BECOME QUITE NEWLY SIGNIFICANT’: ‘THE DECAY OF LYING’ AND ITS LEGACY In Adam Bede (1859), a novel that Wilde knew well, George Eliot articulates a defining theory of realist artistic production, insisting that fidelity to the truth is the goal to which fiction should aspire, though the task is a challenging one. ‘Falsehood is so easy, truth so difficult’, she writes; ‘Examine your words well, and you will find that even when you have no motive to be false, it is a very hard thing to say the exact truth, even about your own immediate feelings—much harder than to say something fine about them which is not the exact truth’.85 It is against this received wisdom that Wilde stakes his primary claims in ‘The Decay of Lying’, stressing instead that the truth—as opposed to lying—is artless and undiscriminating. Since it exploded Eliot’s fears about the inherent problems in telling the truth, ‘The Decay of Lying’, as the third contribution to the January 1889 issue of the Nineteenth Century (it followed two rather staid articles, the one on the British fleet and the other on the cultural isolation of the Hebrides), not surprisingly attracted immediate attention. In London, the Pall Mall Gazette expressed some good-humoured doubts about the degree to which one should interpret Vivian’s comments as anything other than an artful piece of fiction-making: ‘as one is bound to suppose that Mr Wilde’s practice is on a par with his precept, one not only need not believe what he says, but is under no compulsion to believe that Mr Wilde believes it’.86 Nevertheless, some critics took Wilde seriously. A month later, Alice Meynell, in an unsigned piece, was sufficiently startled by Wilde’s dialogue that she made a riposte to his ‘witty and delicate series of inversions’.87 In her view, Wilde misrepresents the incontestable measurements that define the exact relations between the natural world and humankind. Meynell cannot accept Wilde’s intimations ‘that nature is less proportionate to man than is architecture; that the house is built and that the sofa is made measurable by the unit measure of the body; but that the landscape is set to some other scale’.88 Although Meynell admits ‘that nature is not always clearly and obviously made to man’s measure’, she writes that ‘he is yet the unit by which she is measurable’. To prove her point, she contends that the human body is built to a size and scale that fits with the environment: ‘The arm of man is sufficient to dig just as deep as the harvest is to be sown’.89 As Meynell pursues her argument, it becomes evident that she finds Wilde’s challenge to the all-presiding designs of nature far too secular, if not disrespectful towards the Creator. ‘Nature’, she firmly states, ‘is not his lacquey’.90 A little humility, she implies, is required when one realizes that it is lowly nature’s regulative laws that by and large define, if not limit, humankind’s artistic reach. It was left to Richard Le Gallienne, in a review of Intentions, to acclaim Wilde’s ‘almost Renaissance gift of curiosity’ that appears in the abundant allusions.91 In his view, ever since ‘The Decay of Lying’ appeared in the Nineteenth Century Wilde ‘has become quite newly significant’.92 ‘One hardly knows yet’, Le Gallienne observes, ‘what to expect of him’—such is the innovativeness of the essay.93 We hope to have demonstrated that the rediscovered Akron manuscript advances our knowledge of the pains that Wilde took in developing his belief in ‘lying as an art’. Moreover, our aim has been to reveal that, despite the appearance of his nonchalant ease, Vivian’s bravura performance is no mere improvisation. Nor does the critical dialogue consist simply of weakened reprisals of Pater or Baudelaire. Assuredly, ‘The Decay of Lying’ is rife with allusions to an impressive array of contemporary controversies as well as to sources that indicate Wilde’s remarkable intellectual background in Classical literature and modern social thought. Although no editorial excavation can possibly identify each and every source that contributed to Wilde’s published works, we might—once we approach his writings with greater acceptance of his immense intellectual range—attend more carefully to his methods of engaging with established debates, which involved evoking (only to broaden and refashion) insights that captured his attention. At a time when it is still the case that scholars can recoil from what might seem to be Wilde’s apparent penchant to plagiarize as well as indulge in the practice of self-plagiarism, the moment has surely come to acknowledge that in the process of revising his essay, he knew that it was perhaps unreasonable for Vivian to claim that his ‘theory’ was ‘entirely new’.94 Then again, Wilde recognized that the entrenched view that art must imitate nature had to be repudiated with ‘cultivated blindness’: a thoughtful term which—as the fair copy shows—was strikingly his own. University of California, Los Angeles and the University of Birmingham The Fair Copy of Oscar Wilde’s ‘The Decay of Lying’ (1889): A Critical Edition I. Editorial Introduction While they prepared ‘The Decay of Lying’ for the January 1889 number of the Nineteenth Century—one of the most respected monthlies of the time—typesetters used the fair copy manuscript of Oscar Wilde’s famous critical dialogue (see figure 1). At some point, Wilde had given this copy to the novelist Frank Richardson before it passed through numerous sales houses and private owners in the early decades of the twentieth century.1 Ultimately purchased by the rubber magnate and rare book collector Herman Muehlstein, the manuscript formed part of his bequest to the University of Akron after his death in 1963. Although Christopher Sclater Millard (writing under the name of Stuart Mason) recorded the manuscript in his well-regarded 1914 Bibliography of Oscar Wilde,2 Wilde scholars were not aware of its arrival in Akron until S. Victor Fleischer, the archivist at the university, added it to the OCLC in 2012. The edition we present here is the first to appear. Written by Wilde on the recto side of cream ruled paper in black ink with scant corrections in violet ink, the manuscript is in its third known binding: natural russia with custom box. Muehlstein’s bookplate, which features a man tapping a rubber tree, appears on the end papers. The manuscript still bears the traces of a vertical fold in the centre. Page numbers in black ink, circled in most instances, appear to be in Wilde’s hand. Following the entries in early auction catalogues, Millard listed the manuscript as comprising 54 instead of its actual 55 leaves; this is an error encouraged by the handwritten page numbers, which reach only 54 but include 48A and 48B. The manuscript bears no traces of the doodles common in many of Wilde’s drafts and notebooks (which have been the subject of recent commentary),3 and there are only a few instances of the rigorous crosshatched omissions that often feature in his early drafts. Figure 1 View largeDownload slide Oscar Wilde, ‘The Decay of Lying’, unpublished manuscript, f.1r. Image appears courtesy of the Herman Muehlstein Rare Book Collection, Archival Services, University Libraries, The University of Akron (PR5818.D43 1889) Figure 1 View largeDownload slide Oscar Wilde, ‘The Decay of Lying’, unpublished manuscript, f.1r. Image appears courtesy of the Herman Muehlstein Rare Book Collection, Archival Services, University Libraries, The University of Akron (PR5818.D43 1889) As we note in the accompanying essay, when the editor Josephine M. Guy included ‘The Decay of Lying’ in the fourth volume of the Oxford English Texts edition of The Complete Works of Oscar Wilde (2007), the location of the fair copy manuscript was unknown. She adopts the 1891 Intentions version as her copy text (the 1891 volume was published in London by Osgood, McIlvaine), and she notes variants from her copy-text that are contained in the manuscript held at the Berg Collection of the New York Public Library, the 1889 Nineteenth Century publication, and the slightly revised edition of Intentions that McIlvaine issued in 1894. The Berg manuscript binds together twenty folios that are evidently from very different phases—Guy suggests ‘as many as three, and possibly four’—of the essay’s early composition.4 One of the most significant changes that Guy tracks in her stemma is the article’s development from a straightforward essay to a dialogue: only two of the twenty pages assign speech to ‘Cyril’ and ‘Vivian’, and she argues that these pages represent a later iteration of the draft. Serving as a precursor to the Akron manuscript, in which Wilde refines the characters of his now well-established interlocutors, the Berg manuscript is evidence of the significance of revision as part of the author’s compositional process. Given Guy’s detailed editorial work, we record only those variants that distinguish the Akron manuscript from the Berg fragments and the Nineteenth Century text. As we observe in our critical discussion, we intend our edition to augment and complement, not to supplant or supersede, Guy’s editorial work. Wilde’s usually readable hand is consistently legible, perhaps unsurprising in a printer’s fair copy. This semi-diplomatic transcription renders deleted words in struck through text, and insertions are listed between /slant marks\. A few quirks in Wilde’s handwriting are worth mentioning. Following his study of Classics at Trinity College Dublin and the University of Oxford, Wilde routinely adopted the Greek alpha (α) in place of the roman ‘a’; we have rendered these as ‘a’ throughout the transcription. In many of Wilde’s manuscripts, final punctuation is notably inconsistent, since he uses full stops, Greek high dots, and em rules interchangeably at the end of sentences. In the Akron manuscript, however, ambiguous punctuation is rare; in cases where there is any potential confusion, we have described the ambiguity in a note. Capitalization of nouns can also be unclear in Wilde’s hand, an issue that affects the transcription of ‘The Decay of Lying’, in which he intermittently capitalizes ‘Art’, ‘Nature’, and other words. In most instances, the Nineteenth Century version is fairly consistent in putting into lower case the capitalized words in the Akron manuscript; again, we have noted any ambiguous cases. Words that were all or partially illegible are indicated in square brackets. Words and phrases underlined in Wilde’s manuscript appear in italics in the Nineteenth Century. We have not noted this change, except in cases where the journal departed from Wilde’s indication where italics should be set and where the journal corrected Wilde’s presentation of underlined words. Other variations in typesetting, such as the use of small capitals, are also listed in footnotes. Additionally, there are printers’ marks in pencil evident throughout the document. At the time of Wilde’s article, the journal—which James Knowles established in 1877—was printed by C. Kegan Paul.5 The names of the dialogue’s speakers, ‘Cyril’ and ‘Vivian’, are written out in full by Wilde in every case; these names are struck through in pencil by typesetters after the first instance, leaving only the first initials followed by a full stop, indicating how the dialogue tags would appear in the Nineteenth Century; given this consistent change, we have not annotated every instance in the transcription. Typesetters’ names are pencilled at specific points in the manuscript, indicating where one of them stopped during the setting process. Although we have noted these names along with other folio information, in curly brackets, it has not been possible to trace the identity of the typesetters who prepared Wilde’s copy. For the sake of economy, we have not noted the Nineteenth Century’s consistent presentation of single quotation marks, which differs from Wilde’s variable use of single and double ones. II. Abbreviations and Symbols used in Textual Notes AK: ‘The Decay of Lying: Manuscript, 1889’. Holograph, signed. 54 leaves, bound; 34 cm. Gift of Herman Muehlstein rare book collection, 1955-1962. Bound in brown leather; stamped in gold and black; raised bands. Herman Muehlstein bookplate lain in. PS5818.D43 1889. Berg: ‘On the decay of lying’. Incomplete holograph, n.d. 20 leaves. Bound in mahogany leather with pink end papers. Richard Le Gallienne bookplate. Bookplate of W. T. H. Howe also on inside cover, above Le Gallienne’s bookplate, labelled May 1905, with prefatory poem from an auction catalogue. Berg Collection MSS Wilde, New York Public Library. NC:‘The Decay of Lying: A Dialogue’, Nineteenth Century, 25 (1889), 35–56. om.word or words omitted from specified variant ∼ word preceding punctuation is unchanged ^ punctuation omitted / \ word or phrase added to existing line by being placed before or above the line ----- word or words struck through ?    placed before a word to denote uncertain reading in MS |    line break … word or words elided in lemma III. Acknowledgements We are grateful to Merlin Holland of the Estate of Oscar Wilde, to the University of Akron Library, and to The Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature, The New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations for permission to reproduce the manuscript materials contained in this edition. We also thank Harriet Walters for her assistance. IV. The Text {1r; labelled 1 [black ink, circled]. At the top of the page, ‘19th Century’ is written in large cursive hand in blue pencil. ‘Hart’ is written in large cursive hand in black pencil.} The Decay of Lying: | A Dialogue.6      _____ Scene.— The Library of a Country House | in England.7 Persons.— Cyriland Vivian8      ___________      _____ Cyril (coming in through the open | window from the terrace.).‖9 My | dear Vivian don’t coop yourself up | all day in the library. It is a | perfectly lovely afternoon. Let us | go and lie on the grass, and | smoke cigarettes and enjoy nature. Vivian. Enjoy nature! My dear Cyril.10 /I am glad to say that\ | I have entirely lost that faculty. People | tell us that Art makes us love | nature more than we loved her before, | that it reveals nature /her secrets\ to us, and | that after a careful study of Corot | and Constable we see things in her | that had escaped us. My own experience | is that the more we study Art11 the | less we care for nature. What Art12 | really reveals to us is nature’s | lack of design, her curious crudities, | her extraordinary monotony, her | absolutely unfinished condition. When {2r, labelled 2 [black ink, circled]}I look at a landscape I cannot | help seeing all its defects. It is | fortunate for us /however\ that nature is so | imperfect, as otherwise we would | have had no aArt13 /at all\. Art is our spirited | protest, our /gallant\ attempt to teach Nature14 | her proper place. As for the infinite | variety of Nature, that is a pure | myth. It is not to be found in | Nature at all /herself\, but in the imagination | or fancy or /cultivated blindness\ whim of the man who | looks at her. C.15 C yril16. Well, you need not look at | the landscape. You can lie on | the grass, and smoke and talk. V.17 V ivian.18 But nature is so uncomfortable. | Grass is hard and lumpy and damp, | and full of horrid little black | insects. that are always stinging poor | humanity, /in order\ to show their gratitude | to their Creator.19 Why even Maple | can make you a more comfortable | seat than Nature20 can. Nature pales | before the Tottenham Court Road. I | don’t complain. If Nature21 had been | comfortable mankind would never have | invented architecture, and I prefer | houses to the open-air. In a house | we all feel of the proper proportions. | Every thing22 is subordinated to us, | fashioned for our use and /our\ pleasure. {3r, labelled 3 [black ink, circled]} Egoism23 /Egotism\ itself, which is so essential /necessary\ | to /a proper\ the sense of human dignity, is | absolutely the result of indoor life. | Out of doors one becomes abstract and | impersonal. One’s individuality absolutely | leaves one. And then Nature24 is so | indifferent, so unappreciative. Whenever | I am walking in the park /here\ I always | feel that I am no more to /nature\ her than | the cattle that browse on the slope, or | the burdock that blooms in the ditch. | Nothing is clearer than that Nature | hates mind. Thinking is the most | unhealthy thing in the world, and | people die of it just as of any | other disease. Fortunately, in England at | least, it is not catching. Our splendid | physique as a nation /people\ is entirely due | to our national stupidity. I only | hope we will be able to keep this25 | great /historic\ bulwark of our happiness /for many years to come,\, but | I am afraid /that\ we are becoming /beginning to be\ over-educated. | At least every body who is incapable | of learning has taken to teaching. | That is really what our enthusiasm | for education has come to. In the | meanwhile you had better go back to | your wearisome uncomfortable Nature, | and leave me to correct my proofs. C yril.26 Writing an [ illegible] article! That | is not very consistent after what | you have just said. {4r, labelled 4 [black ink, circled]} V ivian.27 Who wants to be consistent? | The dullard, and the doctrinaire. The | tedious people who carry out their | principles to the bitter end of action, /to\ the | reductio ad adsurdum of practice. Not | I. Like Emerson I write over the door | of my library the word ‘Whim’. Besides28 | my article is really a most salutary | and valuable warning. If it is | attended to, there may be a new | Renaissance of Art. C yril. What is the subject. V ivian. I intend to call it ‘The Decay | of Lying: a Protest.’ C yril. The decay of Lying! I should | have thought our politicians kept | up that art habit. V ivian. I assure you they do not. They | never rise beyond the level of | misrepresentation, and actually condescend | to prove, to discuss, to argue. How | different from the temper of the true | liar with his frank fearless statements, | his superb irresponsibility, his healthy | natural disdain of proof of any | kind. After all, what is a fine | lie? Simply that which is its own | evidence. If a man is sufficiently | unimaginative to produce evidence in | support of a lie he might just as {5r, labelled 5 [black ink, circled]; ‘Shaw’ written in pencil in large cursive hand over the top quarter of the page} well speak the truth at once. No: the | politicians wont29 do, and, besides, what | I am pleading for is Lying30 in | Art31. Shall I read you what I have | written? It might do you a great | deal of good. C yril. Certainly, if you give me a | cigarette. Thanks. By the way | what magazine do you intend it | for? V ivian. For the Retrospective Review. I | think I told you that we had | revived it. C yril. Whom do you mean by ‘we’? V ivian. Oh, the Tired Hedonists of course. | It is a Club to which I belong. We | are supposed to wear faded roses in | our buttonholes when we meet, and we | have a sort of cult for Domitian. | I am afraid you are not eligible. | You are too fond of simple pleasures. Cyril. I would be black-balled on | the ground of animal spirits, I | suppose?32 Vivian. Probably. Besides, you are a | little too old. We dont33 admit | any one over thirty, and you are34 {6r, labelled 6 [black ink, circled]} thirty one.35 who is of the usual age. Cyril. Well, I should fancy you are | all a good deal bored with each | other. Vivian. We are. That is one of the | objects of the Club36. Now, if you | promise not to interrupt too much, | I will read you my article. Cyril. (flinging himself down /on\ the sofa .). 37 | All right. Vivian. (reading in a very clear musical | voice .).38    ‘The Decay of Lying:A Protest.—39 “One of the chief causes of the | curiously commonplace character of | most of the literature of our age is | undoubtedly the decay of Lying40 as | an art, a science, and a social | pleasure. The ancient historians gave | us delightful fiction in the form | of fact41, the modern novelist gives42 | presents us with dull facts under the | guise of fiction. The Blue-book43 is | rapidly becoming his ideal both for | method and manner44. He has his | tedious ‘document humain’, his | miserable little ‘coin de la creation’45 {7r, labelled 7 [black ink, circled]} into which he peers with his microscope. | He is to be found at the Librarie | Nationale, or at the British Museum, | shamelessly reading up his subject. He | has not even the courage of other people’s | ideas46 but insists on going directly to | life for everything, and ultimately | between Encylopaedias47 and personal | experience he comes to the ground, | having drawn his types from the family | circle or from the weekly washerwoman, | and having acquired an amount of | useful information from which he never, | even in his most thoughtful moments, | can thoroughly free himself.”48 “The loss that results to literature | in general from this false ideal of | our time can hardly be overestimated. | People have a careless way of talking | about ‘a born liar’, just as they talk | about ‘a born poet’. But in both | cases they are wrong. Lying and | Poetry49 are arts, arts50 as Plato saw51 | not unconnected with each other, and | they require the most careful study, | the most disinterested devotion. Indeed, | they have their technique, just as the | more material arts of52 painting and | sculpture have, their subtle secrets of | form and colour, their craft-mysteries, | their deliberate artistic methods. As | one knows the poet by his fine music | so one can recognise the Liar53 by his {8r, labelled 8 [black ink, circled]} rich rhythmic utterance, and in | neither case will the casual inspiration | of the moment suffice. Here, as | elsewhere, practice must precede | perfection. But in modern days while | the fashion of reading /writing\ poetry has | become far too common, and should, if | possible54 be discouraged, the fashion | of lying has almost fallen into | disrepute. Many a young man | starts in life with a natural gift | for55 exaggeration which, if nurtured | in congenial and sympathetic surroundings,56 | or by the imitation of the best models, | might grow into something really | great and wonderful. But, as a | rule, he comes to nothing. He either | falls into careless habits of accuracy…57” Cyril. My dear Vivian! Vivian. Please dont58 interrupt in the | middle of a sentence. “He either | falls into careless habits of accuracy, | or takes to frequenting the society of | the aged and the well-informed. Both | things are equally fatal to his | imagination, as indeed they would be | /fatal\59 to the imagination of any body, and in | a short time he develops a morbid | and unhealthy faculty of truth-telling, | begins to verify all statements made | in his presence, has no hesitation in {9r, labelled 9. [black ink, circled]; ‘Bradley’ written in pencil in large cursive hand over the top quarter of the page} contradicting people who are younger | than himself, and often ends by writing | novels which are so like Life60 that | no one61 can possibly believe them. This | is no isolated instance that we are | giving. It is simply one example out | of many, and if something cannot be | done to check, or at least to modify, | our monstrous worship of facts,62 Art63 | will become sterile, and Beauty64 will | pass away from the land.”65| “Even Mr. Robert Louis Stevenson, | that exquisite master of delicate and | fanciful prose, is tainted with this66 | modern vice, for there is /we67 \ positively know68 | no other69 name for it. There is such | a thing as robbing a story of its | reality by trying to make it too true, | and ‘The Black Arrow’70 is so inartistic | that it does not contain71 a single | anachronism to boast of, while the | transformation of Dr. Jekyll reads | dangerously like an experiment out of72 | The Lancet73. As for Mr. Rider Haggard74 | who really has, or had once, the makings | of a perfectly magnificent liar, he | is now so afraid of being suspected of | genius that when he does tell us |anything marvellous,75 he feels bound | to invent a personal reminiscence, and | to put it into a footnote as a kind | of cowardly corroboration. Nor are our | other novelists much better. Mr. Henry {10r, labelled 10 [black ink, circled]} James writes fiction as if it was | a painful duty, and wastes upon | mean motives and imperceptible ‘points | of view’ his neat literary style, his | felicitous phrases, his swift and caustic76 | satire. Mrs. Oliphant prattles pleasantly | about curates, lawn-tennis parties, | domesticity, and other wearisome things. | Mr. Marion Crawford has immolated | himself upon the altar of local | colour. He is like the lady in the | French comedy who is always talking | about ‘le beau ciel d’Italie’77. Besides, he | has fallen into a bad habit of uttering | moral platitudes. At times he is | almost edifying. ‘Robert Elsemere’78 is | of course a masterpiece, a masterpiece | of the “genre ennuyant”79, the only /one\ form | of literature that the English people | seem to thoroughly enjoy. Indeed it is | only in England that such a novel | would /could\ be80 possible. A thoughtful | young friend of mine once told me | that he likes it because it reminded | him of the sort of conversation that | goes on at a meat-tea in the house | of a serious Nonconformist family, | and this is perhaps the highest thing | that can be said in its favour. /praise that we can give to it.\81 As | for that great and daily-increasing82 | school of novelists for whom the | sun always rises in the East-End, the | only thing that can be said about them {11r, labelled 11 [black ink, circled]} is that they find life crude,83 and leave | it raw.”84 “In France, though nothing so deliberately | dull /tedious\85 as ‘Robert Elsemere’86 has been | produced, things are not much better. | M. Guy de Maupassant with his keen | mordant irony, and his hard vivid | style,87 strips life of the few poor rags | that still cover her, and shows us foul | sore and festering wound. He writes | lurid little tragedies in which every body88 | is ridiculous, bitter comedies at which | one cannot laugh for very tears. M. | Zola true to the lofty principle that he | lays down in one of his pronunciamentos | on literature89, ‘L’homme de génie n’a | jamais de l’esprit’90 is determined to | show that if he has not got genius | he can at least be dull. And how | well he succeeds! He is not without | power. Indeed at times, as in Germinal, | there is something almost epic in his | work. But his work is entirely | wrong from beginning to end, and wrong | not on the ground of morals but on | the ground of Art.91 From any ethical | standpoint his work is just what it | should be. He is perfectly truthful, and | describes things exactly as they happen. | What more can any moralist desire? | [ illegible] I92 have no sympathy at all with | the moral indignation of our time93 against | M. Zola. It is simply the rage of {12r, labelled 12 [black ink, circled]} Caliban seeing his own face in a | glass. But from the standpoint of | Art, what can be said in favour94 | of the author of ‘L’Assommoir’95, ‘Nana’96, | and ‘Pot-Bouille’97? Nothing. Mr. Ruskin | once described the characters in George | Eliot’s novels as being like ‘the | sweepings of a Pentonville omnibus’, but | M. Zola’s characters are much98 worse. | They have their dreary vices, and their drearier | virtues. The record of their lives is absolutely | without interest. Who cares what happens to | them? In literature we require distinction, charm, | beauty, and imaginative power. We dont99 want to | be harrowed and disgusted with an account of | the doings of the lower orders. M.100 Daudet is | better. He has esprit, a light touch, and an | amusing style. But he has lately committed | literary suicide. No body101 can possibly care for | Delobelle with his ‘Il faut lutter pour l’art’,102 | or for Valmajour with his eternal refrain about | the nightingale, or for the poet in ‘Jack’103 with | his ‘mots cruels’,104 now that we have learned from | ‘Vingt sAns de ma Vie Litteraire ’105 that these characters | were directly taken106 from life. To me they seem to | have suddenly lost all their vitality, all the | few qualities107 they ever possessed. The only real | people are the people who108 never existed, and if | a novelist is base enough to go109 to life for | his personages110 he should at least pretend | that they are creations,111 and not boast of them | as copies. As for M. Paul Bourget, {13r, labelled 13 [black ink, circled]} the master of the roman psychologique, | he commits the error of imagining that | the men and women of modern life are | capable of being infinitely analyzed112 for | an innumerable series of chapters. In | point of fact what is interesting about | the men and women of /people in\ good society – and | M. Bourget never moves out of the | Faubourg—is the mask that each one of | them wears, not the reality that lies | behind the mask. After all, /It is a humiliating confession, but\ we are | all of us made /out\ of the same stuff. In | Falstaff there is something of Hamlet, | in Hamlet there is /not\ a little of Falstaff. | The fat Knight has his /moods of\ melancholy, and | the young prince his /moments of\ coarse humour. Where | we differ from each other is purely in | accidentals, in dress, in manner, tone | of voice, personal appearance, tricks of | habit and the like. The more one | analyzes113 , the people, the more all | reasons for analysis disappear. Sooner or | later one comes to that terrible /dreadful universal\ thing | called Human Nature114. Indeed, as any | one115 who has ever worked among the | poor knows only too well, the brotherhood | of man is no mere poet’s dream, it | is a horrible /terrible\ reality, and if a writer | insists upon analyzing116 the upper classes | he might just as well write of | match-girls and costermongers at once.” | However, I cannot help feeling that | the mere discussion of modern novels117 {14r, labelled 14. [black ink, in parentheses]; “Beer” written in pencil in large cursive hand over the top quarter of the page} However, my dear Cyril, I will not detain | you any further on this point. I quite admit | that modern novels have many good points. All | I say is that as a class they are quite | unreadable.118 C yril. That is certainly a very grave qualification, | but I must say that I think you are rather | unfair in some of your strictures. I like “Robert | Elsemere”119 for instance. 120 Not that I can look upon | it as in any true sense a serious work.121 As a | statement of the problems that confront the early | earnest Christian it is ridiculous, and antiquated. | It is simply Arnold’s “Literature and Dogma”122 with | the literature left out. It is as much behind | the age as Paley’s ‘Evidences’123, or Colenso’s method | of Biblical exegesis.124 Nor could anything be less | impressive that125 the unfortunate hero /gravely\ heralding | a dawn that rose long ago, and so completely | missing its /true\ significance that he proposes to | carry on the business of the old firm under | the new name. Upon126 the other hand it contains | several clever caricatures, and a heap of | delightful quotations, and Green’s philosophy | very pleasantly sugars the somewhat bitter | pill of the author’s fiction. I also cannot | help expressing my surprise that you have | said nothing about the two novelists that /whom\ | you are always reading, Balzac and | George Meredith. Surely they are | realists, both of them V ivian. Ah! Meredith!127 Who can define {15r, labelled 15 [black ink, circled]} him? His style is chaos illumined by | flashes of lightning. As a writer he has | mastered everything, except language: as | a novelist he can do everything except | tell a story: as an artist he is everything, | except articulate. Somebody in Shakespeare— | Touchstone, I think—talks about a man | who is always breaking his shins over his | own wit, and it seems to me that this might | serve as the basis of a criticism of Meredith’s | style. But whatever he is he is not a | Realist128. Or rather I would say that he is | a child of Realism who is not on | speaking terms with his father. [ Illegible] /By\ | deliberate choice he has made himself | a Romanticist129. He has refused to bow | the knee to Baal, and,130 after all, even {16r, labelled 16. [black ink, circled]} if the man’s /fine\ spirit did not revolt | against the noisy assertions of | Realism, his style would be quite | sufficient of itself to keep Life at a | respectful distance. /By its means\ He has planted /round his garden\ a | hedge full of thorns, and with some | wonderful roses. As for Balzac, | he was a most wonderful /remarkable\ combination | of the artistic temperament with the | scientific spirit. The latter he bequeathed | to his disciples: the former was entirely | his own. The difference between such | a book as M. Zola’s “L’Assommoir”131 and | Balzac’s “Illusions Perdues”132 is /the\ difference | between unimaginative realism and | imaginative reality. “All Balzac’s | characters”, said Baudelaire, “are | gifted with the same ardour of life | that animated himself. All his fictions | are as deeply coloured as dreams. Each | mind is a weapon loaded to the | muzzle with will. The very scullions | have genius.” A steady course of | Balzac reduces our living friends | to shadows, and our acquaintances to | the shadows of shades. His characters | have a kind of fervent grey-coloured | existence. They dominate us and defy | scepticism. But One of the greatest | tragedies of my life is the death of | Lucien de Rubempré. It is a grief | from which I have never been able to | completely rid myself. But Balzac is {17r, labelled 17 [black ink, circled]; ‘Hirschfield’ written in pencil in large cursive hand before Cyril’s first entry} no more a realist than Holbein /was.\. He | created life, he did not copy it. I | admit, however, that he set far too | high a value on modernity of form, | and that as a consequence there is | nothing no book of his that as an | artistic masterpiece can rank with | ‘Salammbo’133, or ‘Esmond’134, or , ‘The | Cloister and the Hearth’,135 or the ‘Vicomte | de Bragelonne’136. C yril. Do you object to modernity of | form then? V ivian. Yes. It is a huge price to pay | for a very poor result. Pure | modernity of form is always /somewhat\ vulgarising. | It cannot help being so. The public | imagine that because they are interested | in their immediate surroundings137 Art138 | should be interested in them also, and | should take them as her subject | matter139. But the mere fact that they | are interested in these things makes | them unsuitable subjects for art. The | only beautiful things, as Schopenhauer /somebody\ | once said, are the things that do not | concern us. As long as a thing is | useful /or necessary\ to us, or affects us in any | way, either for pain /or\ for pleasure, or | appeals strongly to our sympathies, or is {18r, labelled 18 [black ink, circled]} a vital part of the environment | in which we live, it is an absolutely | unsuitable subject for art outside | the proper sphere of art. To art’s | subject-matter we should be more or | less indifferent. We should, at any | rate, have no preferences, no prejudices, | no partizan140 feeling of any kind. It is | exactly because Hecuba is nothing to | us that her sorrows are such an | admirable motive for a tragedy. I do | not know anything in the whole | history of literature sadder than the | artistic career /of Charles Reade.\ He wrote one | beautiful book “Cloister on /and\ the Hearth”141, a book as much above “Romola”142 | as “Romola”143 is above “Daniel Deronda” 144, | and the /wasted the\ rest of his life in a foolish | attempt to be modern, to draw public | attention to the state of our convict | prisons,145 and the management of private | lunatic asylums. Charles Dickens | was /depressing\ bad enough in all conscience when | he tried to arouse our sympathies for | the victims of the poor-law administration,146 | but Charles Reade, an artist, /a scholar\ a man | with a /true\ sense of beauty, raging and | roaring over the abuses of modern | life like a common pamphleteer, or | a sensational journalist, is really a | sight for the angels to weep over. | Believe me, my dear Cyril, modernity of | form and modernity of subject matter are {19r, labelled 19 [black ink, circled]} entirely and absolutely wrong. We have | mistaken the common livery of the | age for the vesture of the Muses, and | spend our days in the sordid streets and | hideous suburbs of [ illegible] our vile cities | when [ illegible] we should be out on the | hillside with Apollo. We147 are a degraded | race, and have sold our birthright for | a mess of facts. C yril. There is something in what you | say, and there is no doubt that | whatever amusement we may find in | reading an absolutely modern novel, | we have no /rarely any\ artistic pleasure in | re-reading it. And this is perhaps | the best rough test of what is | literature and what is not. If one | cannot read enjoy reading a book | over and over again, there is no good | reading it at all. But what do | you say about the return to Life | and Nature. This is the panacea that | is always being recommended to us. V ivian. (taking up his proofs .) I will | read you what I say about /on\ that | idea. /subject.\ The passage comes later on | in the article, but I may as well | read it now.148 “The p “The popular cry of our time is | ‘let us return to Life and Nature149: they | will recreate Art for us, and send {20r, labelled 20 [black ink, circled]; “Bailey” written in pencil in large cursive hand before Cyril’s first entry} the red blood coursing through her veins: | they will lend /give\ her feet swiftness and | make her hand strong.’ /But\ Alas!150 we are | mistaken in our amiable and well-meaning | efforts. Nature is always behind the | age, and as for Life she is the solvent | that breaks up Art, the enemy that lays | waste her house.” Cyril. What do you mean by saying | that Nature151 is always behind the | age? Vivian. Well, perhaps that is rather | obscure. What I mean is this. If | we take nature to mean natural simple | instinct as opposed to self-conscious | culture, the work produced under her this | influence is always old-fashioned, antiquated, | /and\ out of date. If152 on the other hand153 we | regard Nature154 as the collection of | phenomena external to man, people only | find /discover\ in her what they bring to her. She | has no suggestions of her own. Wordsworth | went to the Lakes, but he was never | a Lake-poet. He found in stones the | sermons he had already hidden there. He | went moralising about the district, but | his good work was produced when he | returned not to Nature155 but to Poetry156. | Poetry gave him ‘Laodamia’, and Nature | gave him ‘Peter Bell’. and the fine sonnets, | and the ‘Ode to Immortality”, and Nature | gave him “Martha Ray” and “Peter Bell.” {20v, “B1” written in pencil in cursive hand} {21r, labelled 21 [black ink, circled]} Cyril. I think that view might be | questioned. I am rather inclined to | believe in the ‘impulse from a vernal | wood’, though of course the artistic | value of such an impulse depends | entirely on the kind of temperament | that receives it. However, proceed with | your article. Vivian .157 (reading). “Art begins with abstract | decoration, with purely imaginative and | pleasurable work dealing with what158 is | unreal and non-existent. This is the | first159 stage. Then Life becomes fascinated | with this new wonder, and asks to be | admitted into the charmed [circle.160 Art | takes Life as part of her rough material, | re-creates161 it, and refashions it in | fresh forms, is absolutely indifferent | to fact, invents,162 imagines, dreams, and | keeps between herself and reality the | impenetrable barrier of beautiful style, | of decorative or ideal treatment. The | third stage is when Life gets the | upper hand, and drives Art out into the | wilderness. This is the decadence, and | it is from this that we are now | suffering.”  “Take the case of the English | Drama163. At first in the hands of the | monks she /dramatic art164\ was abstract, decorative, and | mythological. Then she165 enlisted [ illegible] | Life166 in her167 service, and using some of {22r, labelled 22 [black ink, circled]} Life’s external forms, she created an | entirely new race of beings, whose | sorrows were more terrible than any | sorrow man has ever felt, whose joys | were keener than lovers’168 joys, who had | the rage of the Titans and the calm | of the Gods169, who had monstrous and | marvellous sins, monstrous and | marvellous virtues. To them she gave | a language different from that of | actual life, a language full of | resonant music and sweet rhythm, made | stately by solemn cadence or made | delicate by fanciful rhyme, jewelled | with wonderful words, and enriched with | lofty diction. She clothed her children | in strange raiment and gave them | masks, and at her bidding the antique | world rose from its marble tomb. A | new Caesar170 passed through the streets | of risen Rome, and with purple sail | and flute-led oars another Cleopatra floated | down the river171 to Antioch. Old myth,172 and legend,173 | and dream took form and substance. History | was entirely re-written, and there was not | one of the dramatists174 who did not recognise | that the object of art is not simple | truth but complex Beauty175. In this they | were perfectly right. Art herself is | simply a form of exaggeration, and | selection, which is the very spirit of Art176, | is nothing more than an intensified mode | of over-emphasis.”177 {23r, labelled 23 [black ink, circled]} “But Life178 soon shattered the beautiful /perfection of the\ | form. Even in Shakespeare we can | see the beginning of the end!179 It shows | itself in /by\ the gradual breaking up | of the blank-verse /in the later plays,\ by the predominance | given to prose, and by the over-importance | given /assigned\ to characterisation. The passages | in Shakespeare—and they are many— | where the language is uncouth, vulgar, | exaggerated, fantastic, obscene even, | are due entirely to Life180 calling for | an echo of its own voice, and rejecting | the intervention of beautiful style, through | which alone it should be allowed to | find expression. Shakespeare is not by | any means a flawless artist. He | is too fond of going directly to Life, | and borrowing Life’s natural utterance. | He forgets that when Art surrenders | her imaginative medium she surrenders | every thing181. Goethe says somewhere | 182In der Beschränkung zeig ht sich erst der Meister, | “It is in working within limits that the | master reveals himself”, and the limitations, | the very condition, of any art is Style. | However, we will not linger any longer | over Shakespeare’s realism. “The Tempest”183 | is the most perfect /best\ of Palinodes. All | that we desired to point out was | that the magnificent work of the | Elizabethan and Jacobean artists contained {24r, labelled 24 [black ink, circled]} within itself the seeds of its own | dissolution, and that if it drew some | of its strength from using Life184 as | rough material, it drew all its | weakness from using Life185 as an | artistic method. /As\ the inevitable result | of this substitution of an imitative for | a creative medium, this surrender of an | imaginative form, we have the modern | English melodrama, and Mr. Henry | Pettitt and Mr. G.R. Sims. These | gentlemen are, /we\ are told, admirable | dramatists, almost as admirable as they | are popular. The ir characters /in these plays\ talk | on the stage exactly as they would talk | off it; they are taken directly from | life and reproduce its vulgarity down to | the smallest detail; they have the | gait, manner, costume, and accent of | real people; they would pass unnoticed | in an Omnibus /a third-class railway carriage\. And yet how | wearisome their /the\ plays are! They do not | succeed in producing even that impression | of reality at which they aim, and which | is there186 only reason for existing. As a | method Realism is a complete failure. What is true about the imitative /drama and\ | forms of literature /the novel\ is no less true | about those arts that we call the | decorative arts. The whole history of | decorative art in Europe is the | record of the struggle between Orientalism187 | with its frank rejection of imitation, {25r, labelled 25 [black ink, circled]} its love of artistic convention, its | dislike to the actual representation of | any object in nature, and our own | imitative spirit. Wherever the former | has been paramount, as in Byzantium188 | Sicily189 and Spain190 by actual contact, | or in the rest of Europe by the influence | of the Crusades, we have had beautiful | and imaginative work in which the | visible things of life are transmuted | into artistic convention191, and the things | that life has not are invented and | fashioned for her. But wherever we have | we have returned to life and nature | our work has always become vulgar, | common, and uninteresting. Modern | tapestry , whether at Gobelins or at | Windsor, with its aërial effects, its | elaborate perspective, its broad expanses | of waste sky, its faithful and | laborious realism, has no beauty | whatsoever;192 the193 pictorial glass of | Germany is absolutely detestable;194 we195 | are beginning to weave possible carpets | in England196 but only because we have | returned to the method and spirit of | the East. Our rugs and carpets of | twenty years ago197 with their healthy | natural feeling, their inane worship | of nature, their sordid reproductions of | visible objects, have become198 even to the | Philistine199 a source of laughter. A | cultured Mahommedan200 once remarked to {26r, labelled 26 [black ink, circled]; ‘Young’ written in pencil in large cursive hand before ‘And now let…’} me201 “You Christians are so occupied in | misinterpreting the fourth Commandment202 | that you have never thought of making an | an203 artistic application of the second.” He | was perfectly right, and the whole truth | of the matter is this: the proper school | to learn art in is not Life but | Life.” Art.”204 And now let me read you a passage | which should have come before this. It | deals with the commonplace character of | our literature.205 “It was not always thus.206 We need | not say anything about the poets, for they, | with the unfortunate exception of Mr. | Wordsworth, have always been faithful to | their high mission, and are universally | recognized as being absolutely unreliable. | But in the works of Herodotus, who207 in | spite of the shallow and ungenerous | attempts of modern sciolists to verify | his history208 may be justly called “The | Father of Lies”;209 in the published speeches | of Cicero and the biographies of Suetonius; | in Tacitus at his best; in Pliny’s ‘Natural | History:’210 in Hanno’s ‘Periplus’211; in all | the early chronicles; in the Lives of the | Saints;212 in Froissart and Sir Thomas | Mallory; in the travels of Marco Polo; | in Olaus Magnus, and Aldrovandus, | and Conrad Lycosthenes213 with his | magnificent ‘Prodigiorum et Ostentorum | Chronicon’214; in the autobiography of {27r, labelled 27 [black ink, circled]} Benvenuto Cellini; in the memoirs of | Casanuova, in Defoe’s ‘History of the | Plague’215; in Boswell’s ‘Life of Johnson’216; | in Napoleon’s despatches, and in the | works of our217 own Carlyle218 whose | ‘French Revolution’219 is one of the most | fascinating historical romances ever | written, facts are either kept in their | proper subordinate position, or else | entirely excluded on the general ground | of dullness.220 Now every thing221 is changed. | Facts are not merely finding a footing | place222 in history, but they are usurping223 | the domain of Fancy, and have invaded | the kingdom of Romance. Their chilling | touch is over every thing224. They are | vulgarising mankind. The dull225 | commercialism of America, its materialising | spirit, its indifference to the poetical | side of things, and its lack of imagination | and of high unattainable ideals226 are | entirely due to that country having adopted | for its hero national hero227 a man228 who | according to his own confession was | incapable of telling a lie,229 and it is | not too much to say that the story of | George Washington and the cherry-tree | has done more harm, and in a shorter | space of time230 than any other moral tale | in the whole of literature.” C yril. My231 dear boy! {28r, labelled 28 [black ink, circled]; “Hendra” written in pencil in large cursive hand at top of page} V ivian. I assure you it is quite true, | and the amusing part of the whole | thing is that the story of the cherry | tree232 is an absolute myth. However233 | you much not think that I am | too despondent about the /artistic\ future of | America or of our own country. Listen | to this.234 “That some change will take place | before this century has drawn to its | close, we have no doubt whatsoever. | Bored by the tedious and improving | conversation of those who have neither | the wit to exaggerate nor the genius | genius to romance, tired of the | intelligent person whose reminiscences | are always based upon memory, whose | statements are invariably limited by | probability, and who is at any time | liable to be corroborated by the | merest Philistine who happens to be | present, Society235 sooner or later must | return to its lost leader236 the cultured | and fascinating liar. Who he was | who first237 without ever having gone | out to the rude chase238 told the | wondering cavemen at sunset how he | had dragged239 the Megatherium from its | the purple darkness of its jasper | cave, or slain the Mammoth in | single combat and brought back its | golden240 claws /tusks\,—we cannot tell, and | not one of our modern anthropologists241 {29r, labelled 29 [black ink, circled]} with all their much-boasted science242 | has had the ordinary courage to tell | us. Whatever was his name and /or\ race, | he was certainly the true founder of | social intercourse. As we k For the | aim of the Liar243 is simply to charm, | to delight, to give pleasure. He is | the very basis of civilized244 society, and | without him a dinner party245 even at | the mansions of the great246 is as dull | as a lecture at the Royal Society,247 or | a debate at the Incorporated Authors.”248 “Nor will he be welcomed merely | by Society249. Art, breaking from the | prison-house of Realism,250 will run to | greet him251 and will kiss his false252 | beautiful lips, knowing that he alone | is in possession of the great secret | of all her manifestations, the secret | that truth is entirely and absolutely | a matter of style. While Life,253 poor | probable uninteresting human254 Life,255 | tired of repeating herself for the | benefit of Mr. Herbert Spencer, scientific | historians, and the compilers of statistics | in general, will follow meekly after | him, and try to reproduce256 in her own | simple and untutored way some of the | marvels of which he talks.”257 “No doubt there will always be critics | who, like a recent writer in the | Saturday Review,258 will gravely censure | the teller259 of Fairy Tales260 for his defective {30r, labelled 30 [black ink, circled]} knowledge of natural history, who will | measure imaginative work by their own | lack of any imaginative faculty, and | who will hold up their inkstained hands | in horror if some honest gentleman261 who | has never been farther than the yew | trees of his own garden262 pens a | fascinating book of travels263 like Sir | John Mandeville, or264 like great Raleigh265 | writes a whole History of the World266, | in prison, and without knowing anything | about the past267. To excuse themselves | they will try and shelter under the | shield of him who made Prospero | the magician and268 gave him Caliban | and Ariel as his servants,269 who | heard the Tritons blowing their270 horns | round the coral-reefs of the Enchanted | Isle,271 and the fairies singing to each | other in a wood near Athens, who | led the phantom Kings272 in dim procession | across the misty Scottish heath, and | hid Hecate in a cave with the weird | sisters. They will call upon Shakespeare— | they always do—and will quote that | hackneyed passage about Art holding | up the mirror to Nature, forgetting that | this unfortunate aphorism is deliberately | said by Hamlet in order to convince | the bystanders of his absolute | insanity in art-matters.273 C yril. Ahem! Ahem! Another 274cigarette, 275 | Please276 {31r, labelled 31 [black ink, circled]; ‘Davis’ written in pencil in large cursive hand at top of page} please. V ivian. My dear fellow, whatever you | may say, it is merely a dramatic | utterance, and no more represents | Shakespeare’s real views upon Art277 | than278 the speeches of Iago represent | his real views upon morals. But | let me get to the end of the | passage.279 “Art finds her own perfection within, | and /not\ outside, herself. She is not to | be judged by any external standard | of perfection resemblance. She is a | veil, rather than a mirror. She has | flowers that no Botanist280 knows of, | birds that no museum possesses. She | makes and unmakes many worlds, and | can draw the moon from heaven with | a scarlet thread. Hers are the “forms | more real than living man,” and hers | the great archetypes of which things | that /have\ existence are but unfinished copies. | Nature has281 in her eyes, no laws, no | uniformity. She can work miracles at | her will, and when she calls monsters | from the deep282 they come. She can bid | the almond-tree283 blossom in winter, and | send the snow upon the ripe cornfield. | At her word284 the frost lays its silver | finger on the burning mouth of June, | and the winged lions creep out from | the hollows of the Lydian hills. The {32r, labelled 32 [black ink, circled]} Dryads285 peer from the thicket as she | passes by, and the brown Fauns286 smile | strangely at her when she comes near | them. She has hawk-faced Gods287 that | worship her, and the Centaurs288 gallop | at her side.” Cyril. Is that the end of the article?289 Vivian. No. There is one more passage, | but it is purely practical. It suggests | various methods by which we could | revive this lost art of Lying290. Cyril. Well, before you read me that, I | should like to ask you a question. | What do you mean by saying that | Life291, ‘poor probable uninteresting human | Life292’ will try to reproduce the | marvels of Art? I can quite | understand your objection to Art | being treated as a mirror. You | think it would reduce genius to | the position of a cracked –293 looking-glass. | But you dont294 mean to say that295 | seriously believe that Life296 imitates | Art297, that Life298 in fact is the | mirror, and Art299 the reality? {33r, labelled 33 [black ink, circled]} Vivian. Certainly I do. Paradox though it /may seem,300\ | For, though it may sound a paradox, | and paradoxes are always dangerous | things,301 it is none the less true that | Life imitates Art /far\ more than Art | imitates Life302. We have all seen in | our own day in England how a certain | strange /curious\ and fascinating type of beauty, | invented and emphasised by two imaginative | painters, has so [ illegible illegible] /influenced\ life that | whenever one goes to a Private303 view or | to an artistic salon one sees here the | mystic eyes of Rossetti’s dream, the long | ivory throat, the strange square-cut jaw, | the loosened shadowy hair that he | loved so ardently loved, there the the304 | sweet maidenhood of “the Golden Stair”, | the blossom-like mouth and weary | loveliness of the “Laus Amoris,” the | passion-pale face of Andromeda, the | thin hands and lithe beauty of the | Vivien in “Merlin’s Dream”. And it is has | always been so. A great artist invents | a type, and Life tries to copy it, to | reproduce it in a popular form /like an enterprising publisher\. Neither | Holbein nor Vandyck found in England | what they have given us. They brought | their types with them, and Life with her | keen imitative faculty set herself to | supply the master with models. The | Greeks305 with their keen /quick\ [ illegible] artistic instinct306 | understood this, and set in the bride’s | chamber the statue of Hermes or of {34r, labelled 34 [black ink, circled]} Apollo that she might bear children | like the works of art that she | looked at. They knew that Art Life307 | gains from life Art308 not merely | spirituality, depth of thought and | passion, soul-turmoil or soul-peace, | but that she can form herself on | the very lines and colours of Art309, and | can reproduce the dignity of Pheidias | as well as the grace of Praxiteles. Hence | came their objection to Realism310. They | disliked it on purely social grounds. They | felt that it inevitably makes people | ugly, and they were perfectly right. We | try to improve the beauty /condition311\ of the race | by means of good air, sunlight, wholesome | water, and hideous bare buildings for | the better housing of the lower classes /people\. | But these things merely produce health, | they do not produce beauty. For this | Art312 is required, and the true disciples | of the great artist,313 are not his | studio-imitators, but those who become | like his works of art, be they plastic | as in Greek days, or pictorial as in | modern times. /In fact\ Life is Art’s best, Art’s only | pupil. As it is with the visible arts, so | it is with literature. The most obvious | and the vulgarest form in which this | is shown is in the case of the silly | boys who after reading the adventures | of Jack Sheppard or Dick Turpin, pillage {35r, labelled 35 [black ink, circled]} the stalls of unfortunate apple-women | break into sweet-shops at night and | alarm old gentlemen /who are returning from the city\ by leaping out | on them, in /with\ black masks and /loaded\ revolvers | in hand. This curious and interesting | phenomenon which always recurs after | the appearance of a new edition of | either of the books I have named, is | usually attributed to the influence of | literature on the imagination. But this | is a mistake. The imagination is | essentially creative and always seeks for | a new form. The boy-burglar is /simply\ the | inevitable result of Life’s314 imitative | instinct. He is Fact, occupied, as Fact | as Fact usually is, with trying to | reproduce Fiction, and what we see in | him is repeated on an extended scale | through the whole of life. S chopenhauer | has analyzed315 the pessimism that | characterises modern thought, but Hamlet | invented it. The world has become sad | because a puppet was once melancholy. | The Nihilist, that strange martyr without /who has\ | /no\ faith, who goes to the stake because he /without\ | has no enthusiasm316 and dies for what he | does not believe in, is a purely literary | product. He was invented by Tourgénieff, | and completed by Dostoieffski. Robespierre | came out of the pages of Rousseau, as | surely as the People’s Palace rose out of | the debris317 of a novel. Literature always | anticipates life. It does not copy /it\318 but {36r, labelled 36 [black ink, circled]} moulds it to its purpose. The nineteenth | century, as we know it, is largely an | invention of Balzac. Our Luciens de | Rubempré, our Rastignacs, our De Marsays, | made their first appearance in the | Comedie319 Humaine. We are merely carrying | out, with footnotes and unnecessary | additions, the whim or fancy of a great | novelist. I once asked a lady, who | knew Thackeray intimately, whether he | had had any model for Becky Sharp. | She told me that Becky was an invention, | but that the idea of the character had | been in part suggested320 by a governess | who lived in the neighbourhood of Kensington | Square321 and was the companion of a very | selfish old la and rich old woman. I | had asked her /enquired322\ what became of the | governess, and she replied that, oddly | enough, some time /years\ after the appearance | of “Vanity Fair”323 the governess ran away | with the nephew of the lady with whom | she was living, and for a short time | made a great splash in society324 quite | in Mrs. Rawdon Crawley’s fashion /style,\, and | entirely by Mrs. Rawdon Crawley’s method. | Ultimately she came to grief, her | husband received a Colonial appointment, | and she disappeared to the Continent, and | and325 /used to be\ occasionally seen at Monte Carlo | and other gambling places. The noble | gentlemen from whom the same great | sentimentalist drew Colonel Newcome {37r, labelled 37 [black ink, circled]} died a few months after ‘The Newcomes’326 | had reached a fourth edition with | the word “Adsum” on his lips. Shortly | after Mr. Stevenson published his | curious psychological story of | transformation327 a friend of mine, called | Mr. Hyde, was in the north of London, | and being anxious to get to a | railway station328 he took what he | thought would be a short cut, and | lost his way, and found himself in | a network of mean329 evil-looking | streets. Feeling rather nervous he was | walking extremely fast, when suddenly | out of an archway ran a child right | between his legs. The child fell on | the pavement, he tripped over it, and | trampled upon it. The child who | who was /Being\ of course very much | frightened and not a little hurt330 it | began to scream, and in a few | seconds the whole street was full | of rough- looking people who kept | pouring out of the houses like ants <,>/.\ | and began to /They\ surround/ed\ him, and asked | asked him his name. He was just | about to give it,331 when he suddenly | remembered Mr. Stevenson’s story the | opening incident in Mr. Stevenson’s | story. He was so filled with horror | at having realised in his own person | that terrible scene, /and\ at having done | accidently what the Mr. Hyde of fiction {38r, labelled 38 [black ink, circled]; “Hart” written in pencil in large cursive hand, starting at “Here the imitation…} had done with deliberate intent, that | he ran away as hard as he could | go. He was332 however333 very closely followed334 | and he finally took refuge in a house | surgery the door of which happened to | be open, and /where he\ explained to a young | man, apparently an assistant, who | happened to be there, exactly what had | occurred. The crowd was induced to | go away on his giving them a small | sum of money, and as soon as the | coast was clear he left. As he | passed out, his eye the name on the | brass door-plate of the surgery caught | his eye. It was “Jekyll.” Here the imitation was of course | accidental. In the following case the | imitation was self-conscious. In the | year 1879, just after I had left | Oxford, I met at [ illegible] a reception | at the house of one of the Foreign | Ministers a lady who interested /me\ very | much, not merely in appearance335 but | also in character /nature.\. What interested me | most in her was her strange vagueness | of character. She seemed to have no | personality /at all\, but simply the possibilities336 | of many types. Sometimes she would | give herself up entirely to art, turn | her drawing-room into a studio, and | spend two or three days a week at | picture-galleries or museums. Then she | would take to going to race-meetings337 {39r, labelled 39 [black ink, circled]} would wear the most horsey clothes, and | talk about nothing but betting. She was | a kind of Proteus, and /as much\ a failure in all | her transformations as the sea-god was | when Odysseus got hold of him. One | day a serial began in one of the French | magazines. At that time I used to | read serial stories, and I well remember | the shock of surprise I felt when I | came to the description of the heroine. | She was so like my friend that I | brought her the magazine, and she | recognised herself in it immediately338 | and seemed fascinated by the resemblance. | I should tell you, by the way, that the | story was translated from the Russian, so | that the author had not taken his type | from my friend. Well, to cut put the | matter briefly, some months afterwards | I was in Venice, and finding the | magazine in the reading-room of the | Hotel339 I took it up to see what had | become of the heroine. It was a most | piteous tale, and the heroine had ended | by running away with a man inferior | to her340 not merely in social station, | but in nature and intellect also. I wrote | to my friend that evening341 and added | a postscript to the effect that her | double had behaved in a very silly | manner. I don’t know why I wrote, | but I remember I had a sort of | dread over me that she might do the {40r, labelled 40 [black ink, circled]} same. Before my letter reached her342 | she had run away with a man who | deserted her in six months. I saw | her in 1884 in Paris, where she was | living alone with her mother, and I asked | her whether the novel /story\ had had anything | to do with her action. She told me | that she had felt an absolutely | irresistible impulse to follow the heroine | step by step in her strange and terrible | progress, and that it was with a feeling | of absolute /real\ terror that she /had\ looked forward | to the last few chapters of the story. | When they appeared it seemed to her | that she was compelled to reproduce | them in life, and she did so. It was | a most clear instance /example\ of this imitative | instinct of which I was speaking, and | an extremely tragic one. {41r, labelled 41 [black ink, circled]} However343 I do not wish to dwell any | further upon individual instances. Personal | /experience\ is a most vicious and limited circle. | All that I desire to point out is | the general principle that Life344 imitates | Art345 far more than Art346 imitates Life347, | and I feel sure that if you think | seriously about it you will find | that it is true. Art /Life\ holds the mirror | up to Art348 and either reproduces the some | strange type /imagined by\ of painter and sculptor, or | realises in fact what has been | dreamed in fiction. Scientifically speaking, | the basis of Life,349 the energy of Life350 | as Aristotle would call it,351 is simply | the desire for expression, and Art352 is | always presenting various forms through | which /this\ expression can be attained. Life | seizes on them and uses them353 even if | they be to her own hurt. Young men | have committed suicide because Rolla | did so, have died by their own hand | because by his own hand Rene354 died. | Think of what we owe to the | imitation of Christ, of what we owe | to the imitation of Caesar355. Cyril The point /theory\ is certainly a very | curious one. and entirely new. But even | admitting this strange imitative | instinct in Life356, surely you would | acknowledge that Art357 expresses the {41v, “B2” written in pencil in cursive hand} {42r, labelled 42 [black ink, circled]} temper of its age, the spirit of its | time, the moral and social conditions | that surround it and under whose | influence it is produced?358 Vivian. Certainly not. Art never | expresses anything but herself.359 (360This | is the principle of the /my\ new aesthetics,361 | and it is this, and not any vital | connection between form and substance, | as Mr. Pater fancies, that makes | music the true [ illegible] type of all | the arts. | 362 Of course363 nations and364 | individuals365 with that healthy natural | egotism /vanity\ that /which\366 is the secret of life, are | always under the impression that is | of them the Muses are talking, | always trying to find in the calm | dignity of imaginative art some mirror | of their own turbid passions, always | forgetting that the singer of life is | not Apollo367 but Marsyas. Remote from | reality, and with her eyes turned away | from the shadow of the cave, Art | reveals her own perfection, and the | wondering crowd that watches the | opening of the marvellous368 many-petalled | rose fancies that it is its own history | that is being told to it, its own spirit | that is finding expression in a new | form. But it is not so. The highest | art rejects the burden of the human spirit, | and gains more from a new medium,369 or a | fresh material,370 than she does from any | enthusiasm for art, or from any lofty {43r, labelled 43 [black ink, circled]} passion, or from any /great\ awakening of the | human consciousness. She develops | purely on her own lines. She is not | symbolic of any age. It is the ages | that are her symbols, her reflections, her | echoes. Even those who hold that Art is | representative of time,371 and place,372 and | people, who cannot help admitting that | the the373 more imitative an art is374 the | less representative it represents to us the | spirit of its time /age\. The evil faces of | the Roman Emperors375 look at out at | us from the foul porphyry and spotted | jasper in which the ideal or realistic | artists of the day delighted to work, | and we fancy that in those cruel | lips and heavy sensual jaws we | can find the secret of the ruin of | the Empire. But it was not so. Neither | the vices of Tiberius could not destroy | that great civilization376 any more than | the virtues of the Antonines could save | it. It fell for other, for greater reasons. | The Sybils377 and Prophets378 of /the\ Sistine may | indeed serve to interpret for us that | new birth of the emancipated spirit that | we call the Renaissance,379 but what | do the drunken boors and brawling | peasants of Dutch art tell us about | the great soul of Holland? The more | abstract, the more ideal an art is380 | the more it reveals to us the temper of {44r, labelled 44 [black ink, circled]; ‘Hirchfelt’ written in pencil in large cursive hand, starting at Cyril’s first speech} its age. If we wish to understand a | nation /by means of its art\381 let us look at its architecture | and /or\ its music. C yril. I do not quite agree with | you there. The spirit of an age | may be best expressed in the abstract | ideal arts, for the spirit itself is | abstract and ideal,382 for but for the | visible aspect of an age, for its | look, as the phrase goes, we must | surely go to the arts of imitation. Vivian. I don’t think so. After all | what the imitative arts can /really\ give us | is /are\ the merely the various styles of | individual /particular\ artists, or of particular | schools of artists. Surely you dont383 | imagine that the people of the | Middle Ages had /the slightest\384 any resemblance at | all to the figures on mediaeval385 | stained-glass, or in mediaeval386 stone | and wood carving ?, or on mediaeval387 | metal-work or tapestries ?, /or illuminated M.S.S.?388\ They were | probably very ordinary-looking people | with nothing grotesque, or remarkable, | or fantastic about them. The Middle | Ages as we know them in art are | simply a form of style, and there | is no reason at all why an artist | with this style should not be produced | in the nineteenth century. No great {45r, labelled 45 [black ink, in parentheses]} artist ever sees things as they really are. If | he did,389 he would cease to be an artist. Take | an example from our own day. Surely you | don’t I know that you are fond of Japanese | art. Now, do you really imagine that the | Japanese people, as we know them through the | medium of art,390 have any existence? If you do, | you have never understood Japanese art at all. | The Japanese people are the deliberate invention /creation\ | of certain artists. If you set a picture by | Hokusai, or Hokkei, or any of the great | Japanese artists, beside a real Japanese | gentleman or lady, or beside a photograph of391 | Japanese gentleman or lady, you will see that | there is not the slightest resemblance between | them.392 The actual people who live in Japan | are not unlike the general run of English | people,393 that is to say394 that are extremely commonplace, | and have nothing curious,395 or extraordinary about | them.396 In fact the whole of Japan is a pure | invention. There is no such country, there are | no such people. One of our most charming | painters, whose tiny full-length portraits of | children are so beautiful and so powerful that | he should be /called397\ the Velasquez to the Court of | Lilliput, went recently to Japan, in the hopes398 of | seeing the Japanese. All he saw, all he | had the chance of painting, were a few lanterns | and some fans. He was unable to discover the | inhabitants, as any one could see who visited his | delightful exhibitions at Dowdeswells.399 He did | not know that the Japanese people are, as I | have said, simply a mode of style, a whimsical | fancy of art. {46r, labelled 46 [black ink, circled]} Take the Greeks. Do you think that Greek | art ever tells us what the Greek | people were like? Do you believe400 that | the Athenian women were like the stately | dignified figures on the Parthenon | frieze, or like those marvellous | goddesses who sat in the triangular | pediments of the same building.401 If you | judge from the art402 they certainly were so. {47r, labelled 47 [black ink, in parentheses]} But read an authority, like Aristophanes | for instance. You will find that the | Athenian ladies laced tightly, wore | high-heeled shoes, dyed their hair | yellow, painted and rouged their faces, | and were exactly like any silly | fashionable or fallen creature of our | own day. We look back on the | ages entirely through the medium | of art403, and art404 /very fortunately has\ never once has told | us the truth. Cyril But modern portraits by English | painters, what of them? Surely they | are like the people they pretend to | represent? Vivian. Quite so. They are so like them | that a hundred years from now no | one will believe in them. The | only portraits that one believes in | are portraits where there w /is\ very little | of the sitter and very a great deal | of the artist. Holbein’s portraits /of the men and women of his time\ | impress us with a sense of their absolutely405 | reality. But this is simply because | Holbein compelled life to accept his | conditions, to restrain itself within his | limitations, to reproduce his type, and | to appear as he wished it to appear [?.]406 | It is style that makes us believe in | a thing—nothing but style. Most {48r, labelled 48A [black ink, circled]; “48V” is written in blue pencil at the top of the page, along with “See 48b”} of our modern portrait painters | never paint what they see. They | paint what the public sees, and the | public never sees anything.407 Cyril. Well408 after that I think I | would409 like to hear the end of your | article. Vivian. With pleasure. Here it is. | “What we have to do, what at any | rate is our duty to do, is to revive | this old art of Lying. Much, of course, | may be done in the way of educating | the public by amateurs in the domestic | circle, at literary lunches, and at | Whether it will do any good I really | cannot say. We are410 certainly the | dullest and most prosaic century possible. | Why411 even Sleep has played us false, and | sends us her messenger no longer | through the gates of and has closed | up the gates of ivory, and opened the | gates of horn. The dreams412 of the | middle classes of this country, as | recorded in Mr. Myers’s two bulky | volumes on the subject and in the | transactions413 of the Psychical Society, are | the most depressing things I have ever | read. There is not even a fine | nightmare among them. There414 are | commonplace, sordid, and probable.415 As {49r, labelled 48B [black ink, circled]; ‘Deeley’ written in pencil in large cursive hand at the paragraph beginning with ‘What we have to do…’} for the Church I cannot conceive | anything better for the art of a | culture of a country than the presence | in it of a body of men whose duty it | is to believe in the supernatural, to | perform daily miracles, and to keep | alive the mythopoeic faculty which is | so essential for the imagination. But | in the English Church a man succeeds416 | not in proper through his capacity for | belief417 but through his capacity for | disbelief. Ours is the only Church where | the sceptic stands at the altar, and | where St. Thomas is regarded as the | ideal apostle. Many a worthy clergyman418 | who passes his life in good works | of kindly charity419 lives and dies | unnoticed and unknown, but it is sufficient | for some shallow uneducated passman | out of either University to get up in | his pulpit and express his doubts | about Noah’s Ark or Balaam’s ass or | Jonah and the whale, for the whole /half\ of | London to flock to his church and to | sit open-mouthed in rapt admiration | at this superb intellect. The growth of | commonsense in the English Church is | a thing very much to be regretted. It is | really a depressing concession to a low form | of realism. However, I must read the end | of my article.420 ‘What we have to do, what at any rate is our duty | to do421, is to revive this old art422 of Lying423. Much | of course may be done424 in the way of educating | the public425 by amateurs in the domestic circle, | at literary lunches, and at {50r, labelled 49 [black ink, circled]} afternoon [ illegible] teas. But this is | merely the light and graceful side of | lying426 such as was probably heard at | Cretan dinner parties. There are many | other forms. Lying for the sake of | gaining some immediate personal | advantage, /for instance,427\ lying for a moral purpose | as it is usually called,428 though of late | it has been rather looked down upon, was | extremely popular with the antique world. | Athena laughs when Odysseus tells her | what a Cambridge Professor /once\ elegantly | termed “a whopper”, and the glory of | mendacity illumines the pale brows of | the stainless hero of Euripidean | tragedy, and sets amongst the noble | women of the world the young bride of | Horace’s most exquisite lyric.429 Later on | what /at first\ had been merely a natural instinct | was elevated into a /self-conscious [ illegible]\ science. Elaborate | rules were laid down for the guidance | of the young, mankind, and an whole /important\ | school of literature was devoted to /rose430 up round\ the | subject. Indeed431 when one remembers the | admirable and thoughtful /excellent philosophical\ treatise of | Sanchez on the subject /whole question\, one cannot help | regretting that no one has /ever\ thought of | publishing a cheap and condensed edition | of the works of that great casuist. | A short primer “When432 to Lie,433 and How”,434 | if brought out in an attractive and | not too expensive /a\ form, would /no doubt\ command | a large sale, and would prove of great | no small {51r, labelled 50 [black ink, circled]} of great /real\ practical service to many earnest | and deep-thinking people. Lying for the | sake of the moral improvement of the | young, which is the basis of home | education, still lingers amongst us, and | its advantages are so admirably set | forth in the early books of the Republic435 | that it is unnecessary to dwell upon | them here. It is a form of lying for | which all good mothers have peculiar | capabilities, but it is capable of still | further development436 and has been sadly | overlooked by the School Board. Lying | for the sake of a monthly salary is | of course well known in Fleet Street, | and the profession of a political- | leader writer437 is not without its | advantages. But it is said to be a | somewhat dull occupation, and it certainly | does not lead to much beyond a kind | of ostentatious obscurity. Besides, a | good liar should be absolutely free, and | if he [illegible] /binds\ himself to one particular | side /or party\ he [illegible] /might\ just as well speak the | truth at once. The only form of Lying438 | that is absolutely beyond reproach is | Lying439 for its own sake, and the highest | development of this is, /as we have already pointed out,\ Lying440 in Art. | Just as those who do not love Plato | more than truth never /cannot\ pass beyond the | X441 threshold of the Academe, so those who | do not love Beauty442 more than Truth443 | never know the inmost shrine of Art. The {52r, labelled 51 [black ink, circled]; ‘Shaw’ written in pencil in large cursive hand at the paragraph beginning with “‘And when that day…”} solid stolid British intellect lies in the | desert sands like the Sphinx in Flaubert’s | marvellous tale, and Fantasy444, La | |445Chimère, dances round it and calls | to it with her false446 flute-toned voice. | It may not hear447 her now, but surely | someday448 when we are all bored to | death with the commonplace character of | fiction modern fiction, it will hearken | to her and try to borrow her wings.”449 “And when that day dawns, or sunset | reddens, how happy450 we shall all be! | Facts will be regarded as discreditable, | Truth will be found mourning over her | fetters, and Romance451 with her temper of | wonder452 will return to the land.453 The | very aspect of the world will change | to our startled eyes. Out of the sea | will rise Behemoth and Leviathan454 and | sail round the high-pooped galleys, as | they do on the delightful maps of those | ages when books on Geography455 were | actually readable. Dragons will wander | about the waste places, and the Phoenix456 | will soar from her nest of fire into | the air. We /will457\ lay our hand upon the | Basilisk458, and see the jewel in the | toad’s head. The Hippogriff459 will stand | in our stalls, champing his gilded460 | oats, and over our heads will float | the Blue Bird singing of beautiful and | impossible things, of things that are lovely | and that never happen, of things that {53r, labelled 52 [black ink, circled]} are not and that should be. But | before this comes to pass we must | cultivate the lost art of lying.” Cyril. Then we must certainly | cultivate461 at once. But in order | to avoid making any error I want | you to briefly tell me the doctrines | of the new Renaissance aesthetics. Vivian. Briefly462 then463 /they\ are these. Art | never expresses anything but itself. | It has an independent life, just | as Thought has, and develops purely | on its own lines. It is not necessarily | realistic in an age of realism, | nor spiritual in an age of faith. | So far from being the creation of | its time, it is usually in direct | opposition it to it, and the only | history that it preserves for us | is the history of its own progress. | Art Sometimes /it\ returns on its own | footsteps, and revives some old form, | as happened in the archaicising464 | movement of later465 Greek art, and | in the Pre-Raphaelite466 movement of our | own day. At other times she /it\ entirely | anticipates its age, and produces in | one century work that it takes | another age /century\ to understand, to | appreciate, and to enjoy. It467 no case | does it reproduce its age. To pass {54r, labelled 53 [black ink, circled]} from the art of a time to the time | itself is the great fallacy of all | historians. The second doctrine is this. All bad | art comes from [ illegible] returning to Life468 | and Nature469, and from elevating them | into ideals. Life and Nature470 may /sometimes\ be | used as /part of Art’s471\ rough material, but before | they are of any real service to art | they must be translated into artistic | conventions. The moment Art472 surrenders | its imaginative medium it surrenders | every thing473. As a method Realism | is a complete failure, and the two | things that every artist should avoid | are modernity of form and modernity | of subject matter474. To us, who live in | the nineteenth century, any century is | a suitable subject for art except | our own. The only beautiful things are | things that do not concern us. It is, to | have the pleasure of quoting myself, exactly | because Hecuba is nothing to us that | her sorrows are so suitable a motive for | a tragedy. The third doctrine is that Life | imitates Art far more than Art | imitates Life. This results not merely | from Life’s imitative instinct, but | from the fact that the desire of Life | is simply to find expression, and that | Art offers it certain beautiful forms | through which it may realise its475 energy. {55r, labelled 54 [black ink, circled]} It is a theory that has never been | formulated476 before, but it is extremely | fruitful, and throws an entirely new light | on the history of art.477 The last doctrine is that Lying, the | telling of beautiful untrue things, is the | proper aim of Art. But of this I | think I have spoken at sufficient length. | And now let us go out on the Terrace 478| where “the milkwhite peacock glimmers | like a ghost”, /while\ and the evening star “washes | the dusk with silver”. At twilight | Nature479 becomes a beautiful suggestive effect | and is not without loveliness, though | perhaps her480 chief use is to supply | illustrations for /illustrate\ quotations from the | poets. Come.481 We have talked long | enough. Oscar Wilde {55v: “B3” is written in pencil, upside down, on the top half of the page. Near the bottom of the page, right side up, “19th O.W.” is written in large cursive hand} We are grateful to the following individuals and institutions for kindly granting permission to quote from unpublished materials, as well as published works that remain under copyright: Merlin Holland, the Estate of Oscar Wilde; S. Victor Fleischer, the Herman Muehlstein Rare Book Collection, Archival Services, University Libraries, The University of Akron; Joshua McKeon, The Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature, The New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations; and Candis Snoddy, the Center for 17th- and 18th-Century Studies and William Andrews Clark Memorial Library, University of California, Los Angeles. Footnotes 1 Oscar Wilde, ‘The Decay of Lying: A Dialogue’, Nineteenth Century, 25 (1889), 50; subsequent page references to this text appear after the abbreviation NC in parentheses in the main text and in the notes below. 2 Aristotle’s Poetics famously begins with an account of the ways in which different genres, such as tragedy and comedy, produce ‘mimesis in different media, in different objects, or in different modes’ (Poetics, ed. and trans Stephen Halliwell (Cambridge, MA, 1995), 29). Of the ways in which modern interpreters have constructed critical accounts of mimesis with reference to Classical writings, Halliwell observes: ‘A nodal point in the web of interests and problems that defined neoclassical mimeticism was the motto of the so-called imitation of nature’; he remarks that the ‘static narrative’ which assumes that ‘art’s “imitation of nature” constituted the core of neoclassical thinking from the sixteenth to the eighteenth century’ has limitations. Halliwell notes that Wilde’s ‘antimimeticism’ (i.e. the resistance to the belief that art imitates nature) ‘ironically invokes a supposed precedent in the Platonic association of mimesis and lies’ (such as we find in Socrates’s reflections on lyric and epic poetry in The Republic, book X). For this reason, even though Wilde’s essay may initially appear to be the ‘ne plus ultra of antimimeticism’, it is more accurate to say that he is echoing ‘an ancient notion’ that ‘does not so much negate mimesis as displace its purpose onto the artlike fashioning of life itself’ (The Aesthetics of Mimesis (Princeton, NJ, 2002), 351, 368–9). 3 Wilde, ‘The Decay of Lying’ in Intentions (London, 1891) 39, and Intentions, 2nd edn (London, 1894), 39. The dialogue is subtitled ‘An Observation’ in the 1891 and 1894 editions; in the Akron fair copy manuscript, which we discuss here, and in the 1889 version in the Nineteenth Century, the title and subtitle are ‘The Decay of Lying: A Dialogue’. Subsequent page references to these volumes appear in parentheses after the relevant date in the main text and in the notes below. 4 Oscar Wilde, ‘The Decay of Lying’, unpublished manuscript, PR5818.D43 1889, Special Collections, the University of Akron Library, f.41r. Subsequent folio references appear after the abbreviation AK in parentheses in the main text. For additional information on the rediscovery of the manuscript, see Joseph Bristow and Rebecca N. Mitchell, ‘The Provenance of Oscar Wilde’s “Decay of Lying”’, Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America, 111.2 (2017), 221–40. 5 Oscar Wilde to Lord Alfred Douglas, January–March 1897, in The Complete Letters of Oscar Wilde, ed. Merlin Holland and Rupert Hart-Davis (London, 2000), 688. 6 Laurel Brake, ‘Theories of Formation: The Nineteenth Century, Vol I, No. 1, March 1887, Monthly 2/6’, Victorian Periodicals Review, 25 (1992), 16. Wilde had previously published his essay, ‘Shakespeare and Stage Costume’, there (Nineteenth Century, 17 (1885), 800–18). 7 The phrase inspired several of Wilde’s related formulations about the cultivation of taste. In ‘The True Function and Value Criticism’ (Nineteenth Century 26 (1890), 123–47, and 28 (1890), 435–59, which he revised as ‘The Critic as Artist: A Dialogue’, in Intentions (1891)), his main speaker Gilbert recalls Plato’s comments on the aesthetic education of ‘a young Greek’: ‘he is to develop that real love of beauty which, as Plato is never weary of reminding us, is the true aim of education. By slow degrees there is to be engendered in him such a temperament as will lead him naturally and simply to choose the good in preference to the bad, and, rejecting what is vulgar and discordant, to follow by fine instinctive taste all that possesses grace and charm and loveliness. Ultimately, in its due course, this taste is to become critical and self-conscious, but at first it is to exist purely as a cultivated instinct’ (Complete Works, iv, 191). As Josephine M. Guy notes, Wilde has in mind Plato, The Republic, book III (‘Commentary’, in Criticism: Historical Criticism, Intentions, The Soul of Man in The Complete Works of Oscar Wilde, 7 vols to date (Oxford, 2000–continuing), iv, 512). 8 See Guy, ‘Commentary’, in Complete Works, iv, 274, and Oscar Wilde, ed. Isobel Murray (Oxford, 1989), 586–98. Guy mentions that, even though she has some ‘misgivings’ about some of allusions that Murray, in particular, has found in Wilde’s critical essays, she has acknowledged all of them (Complete Works, iv, 274). 9 See, in particular, Horst Schroeder, ‘Volume IV of the OET Edition of The Complete Works of Oscar Wilde IV. “The Decay of Lying”’, Wildean, 37 (2010), 16–64; and ‘Volume IV of the OET edition of The Complete Works of Oscar Wilde. I. Historical Criticism and The Soul of Man’, Wildean, 34 (2009), 61–76. 10 Guy, ‘Introduction’, in Complete Works, iv, xxxv. 11 Guy, ‘Introduction’, in Complete Works, iv, xxxv. 12 Schroeder, ‘The OET Edition of “The Decay of Lying”’, 17. 13 Hilda Schiff, ‘Nature and Art in Oscar Wilde’s “The Decay of “Lying”’, Essays and Studies, 18 (1965), 85. Schroeder identifies, for example, a ‘verbal echo’ of the twelfth section of Baudelaire’s Salon de 1846 (24). Where Wilde writes in the Nineteenth Century, ‘Art is our spirited protest, our gallant attempt to teach Nature her proper place’ (35), Baudelaire remarks, ‘Un éclectique ignore que la première affaire d’un artiste est de substituer l’homme à la nature et de protester contre elle’ (‘A person with eclectic tastes is unaware that an artist’s first business is to substitute man for nature and protest against her’) (Œuvres complètes (Paris, 1868), ii, 165). 14 Schroeder, ‘The OET Edition of “The Decay of Lying”’, 16. 15 Schroeder suggests that Guy is perhaps mistaken to suggest that Pater’s ‘The School of Giorgione’ (1877) is the source for Vivian’s observation about ‘that vital connection between form and substance, on which Mr Pater dwells, that makes music the type of all the arts’ (‘The Decay of Lying’, Complete Works, iv, 95). Guy notes Pater’s famous declaration: ‘all art constantly aspires towards the condition of music…In music, then, rather than in poetry, is to be found the true type or measure of perfected art’ (Pater, ‘The School of Giorgione’, in The Renaissance: Studies in Art and Poetry, the 1893 Text, ed. Donald L Hill (Berkeley, CA, 1980), 106, 109). (Hill’s volume contains all of the variants in the four editions of The Renaissance that Pater published in his lifetime. Pater included ‘The School of Giorgione’ in the third edition (1888).) Instead, Schroeder claims that Wilde ‘must have been thinking of the passage in the brand-new essay “Style” (Dec. 1888), where Pater calls music “the ideal of all art whatever, precisely because in it it is impossible to distinguish the form from the substance or matter the subject from the expression”’ (Schroeder, ‘The OET Edition of “The Decay of Lying”’, 54. Pater’s comment appears in ‘Style’, Fortnightly Review, 44 (1888), 743.) Schroeder suggests, too, that Vivian’s remark about the Greeks ‘setting in the bride’s chamber the statues of Hermes or Apollo, that she might bear children as lovely as the works of art that she looked at’ bears comparison with a similar observation by Johann Joachim Winckelmann that Pater quotes in ‘Winckelmann’ (The Renaissance, 166). Elsewhere, Schroeder’s comments depart significantly from ‘The Decay of Lying’, as he seizes on examples that demonstrate his own ‘familiarity with literature’. In one instance, he uses Vivian’s mention of Balzac’s Illusions perdues (1837–1843) to note an allusion to the French novel that appears in Wilde’s De Profundis, whose composition most likely dates from early 1897; in another, he reports an admittedly ‘incidental’ comment about Henry Moore from an unsigned Athenæum review (‘The OET Edition of “The Decay of Lying”’, 36, 54). 16 To offer one example of such unexplored textual resonances: Vivian describes George Meredith’s style as ‘chaos illumined by flashes of lightning’ (NC, 40). Both Guy and Schroeder list earlier uses of the phrase (or its close variants) by Wilde (Guy, ‘Commentary’, in Complete Works, iv, 374; Schroeder, ‘The OET Edition of “The Decay of Lying”’, 35), and Guy allows that Swinburne described Robert Browning’s work as featuring ‘forked flashes of fancy’ (‘Commentary’, in Complete Works, iv, 374). Neither Schroeder nor Guy, however, recognizes that the line is an allusion to Meredith’s own work, which Wilde knew well. In Meredith’s ‘Essay on Comedy’ (1877), the author wonders: ‘Would not the Comic view of the discussion illumine it and the disputants like very lightning?’ (‘On the Idea of Comedy, and the Uses of the Comic Spirit’, New Quarterly Magazine, 8 (1877), 25). Furthermore, Meredith is not the originator of this idea. Both William Hazlitt and Samuel Taylor Coleridge described the Shakespearean actor Edmund Kean’s performance in similar terms. Hazlitt: ‘We see no reason why [Iago] should instantly be converted into a pattern of comic gaiety and good humour. The light which illumines the character should rather resemble the flashes of lightning in the mirky sky, which make the darkness more terrible. Mr Kean’s Iago is, we suspect, too much in the sun’ (‘Mr Kean’s Iago’, Examiner, 24 July 1814, 479). Coleridge: ‘Kean is original; but he copies from himself. His rapid descents from the hyper-tragic to the infra-colloquial, though sometimes productive of great effect, are often unreasonable. To see him act, is like reading Shakspeare [sic] by flashes of lightning’ (Specimens of the Table Talk of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, ed. H. N. Coleridge (London, 1836), 13). Wilde would have come across the comments during his preparatory reading for ‘The Portrait of Mr W.H.’, which he published six months later in Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine, 146 (1889), 1–21. 17 Guy, ‘Appendix’, in Complete Works, iv, 585. See also our discussion of the Berg manuscript in the editorial introduction to the transcription of the Akron manuscript. 18 At the time, Wilde, who had not been granted bail, was faced not only with serious charges of violating the eleventh section of the Criminal Law Amendment Act 1885; he had also been served with several writs for substantial unpaid debts, including sums for engraved cigarette-cases and items of jewellery that he had bestowed upon various young men with whom he had enjoyed intimacy. Furthermore, he owed several London hotels substantial bills. 19 After Wilde’s death in 1900, Robert Ross recalled that before the sale he and a friend followed Wilde’s instructions to salvage literary manuscripts from the family home in Tite Street, Chelsea. Once Ross arrived, he discovered ‘all of the published MSS…lying about in various fragmentary states’; the vandalism suggests that private detectives had broken into and entered the home in search of incriminating evidence (‘Introductory Note’, in Wilde, A Florentine Tragedy: Opening Scene by T. Sturge Moore (Boston, MA, 1908), v–vi). The sale items are listed in Catalogue of the Library of Valuable Books, Pictures, Portraits of Celebrities, Arundel Society Prints, Household Furniture, Carlyle's Writing Table, Chippendale and Italian Chairs, Old Persian Carpets and Rugs, Brass Fenders, Moorish and Oriental Curiosities, Embroideries, Silver and Plated Articles, Old Blue and White China, Moorish Pottery, Handsome Ormolu Clock, and Numerous Effects, Which Will Be Sold by Auction, by Mr Bullock on Wednesday, April 24th 1895 (London, 1895). One account notes that ‘in a chest of drawers in [the] bedroom which, by the way, was lighted by a curious copper lamp of oriental design—lay a choice selection of Wilde’s MSS., said to include a yet unproduced play’, and that ‘a bundle of MSS. (really typewritten) brought £5 15s’ (‘Sale of Oscar Wilde’s Household Goods’, Advertiser for Somerset, 2 May 1895, 10). 20 The wording in the fair copy is the same in ‘The Decay of Lying’, NC, 39. 21 Vivian claims that George Eliot’s characters are like ‘the sweepings of a Pentonville omnibus’ (NC, 39). As Guy notes in her ‘Commentary’, John Ruskin’s actual phrase is the ‘sweepings-out of a Pentonville omnibus’ (‘Fiction—Fair and Foul’, Nineteenth Century, 10 (1881), 521, in Complete Works, iv, 371). 22 ‘The Decay of Lying’, Berg MS f.4. The erroneous ‘genre ennuyant’ appears in AK, f.10r. 23 As we observe in Notes and Queries, Wilde’s revisions might reflect his own personality, rather than that of his speakers. While in the published versions, Vivian opines that Cyril will never be a member of the ‘Tired Hedonists’ (he says he is ‘a little too old. We don’t admit any one who is of the usual age’ (NC, 35–6)), in the Akron MS Wilde had originally written: ‘We don’t admit any one over thirty, and you are thirty one’ (AK, ff.5r–6r). Wilde was thirty-four at the time of writing, and thus was no longer eligible for membership with the ‘Tired Hedonists’ under Vivian’s original stricture (‘Fair Copy Manuscript of Oscar Wilde’s “The Decay of Lying: A Dialogue”’, 575). 24 Guy, ‘Introduction’, in Complete Works, iv, xxxiii. 25 Wilde, ‘Mr Pater’s Last Volume’, Speaker, 22 March 1890, repr. in Wilde, Journalism Part II, ed. John Stokes and Mark W. Turner, Complete Works, vii, 243. Wilde is quoting A. C. Swinburne, ‘Sonnet (with a copy of Mademoiselle de Maupin)’, in Poems and Ballads, Second Series (London, 1878), 97. 26 Wilde had long used the phrase, which featured prominently in his most famous lecture delivered in North America in 1882, ‘The English Renaissance of Art’. The Collected Works of Oscar Wilde, ed. Robert Ross, 14 vols (London, 1908), xiv, 243. 27 Pater, ‘On Wordsworth’, Fortnightly Review, 15 (1874), 455, quoted in Guy, ‘Commentary’, in Complete Works, iv, 379. 28 Pater, ‘On Wordsworth’, 456. 29 William Wordsworth, ‘To the Spade of a Friend’, Poems in Two Volumes, and Other Poems, 1800-1807, ed. Jared Curtis, Cornell Wordsworth (Ithaca, NY, 1983), 257–58. 30 ‘The Decay of Lying’, Berg MS, f.1. 31 William Wordsworth, ‘Preface’, in Lyrical Ballads, and Other Poems, 1797-1800, ed. James Butler and Karen Green, Cornell Wordsworth (Ithaca, NY, 1993), 752, 760. 32 [Thomas Carlyle,] ‘Characteristics’, Edinburgh Review, 15 (1831), 353. 33 Joseph Butler, The Analogy of Religion: Natural and Revealed, to the Constitution and Course of Nature (London, 1736), 107 (spelling modernized). 34 William Paley, Natural Theology, ed. Henry Brougham and Charles Bell, 2 vols (London, 1838), i, 4. 35 Paley, Natural Theology, i, 16. 36 Montagu Burrows, Pass and Class: An Oxford Guidebook through the Courses of Literæ Humaniores, Mathematics, Natural Science, and Law and Modern History (Oxford, 1866), 104. In the following decade, Algernon M. M. Stedman observed: ‘Butler’s influence has of late vastly declined at Oxford…though an acquaintance with the outlines of his system is necessary’ (Oxford: Its Social and Intellectual Life (Oxford, 1878), 259). 37 Burrows, Pass and Class, 172. 38 See Douglas Sladen, Twenty Years of My Life (London, 1915), 110. Sladen repeats the anecdote in My Long Life: Anecdotes and Adventures, where he says that Wilde ‘was ploughed in that Divinity exam’ ((London, 1939), 44). 39 Wilde, ‘Notebook on Philosophy’, William Andrews Clark Memorial Library, University of California, Los Angeles, W6721M3 N9113 [1876/8] Bound, ff.111r, 112v; subsequent folio references appear in parentheses after the abbreviation PN in the main text. 40 J. B. Mozley, ‘The Argument of Design’, Quarterly Review, 127 (1869), 134–76, reprinted in Mozley, Essays Historical and Theological, 2 vols (London, 1878), i, 375, 370. 41 Mozley, Essays, i, 371. 42 It remains unclear which section of Mozley’s work Wilde has in mind here. 43 Wilde regularly used Greek high dots to mark pauses in his note taking. 44 Carlyle, ‘Characteristics’, 363. 45 Thomas Hill Green, Prolegomena to Ethics, ed. F. H. Bradley (Oxford, 1883), 15. 46 Green, Prolegomena to Ethics, 15. Green’s German phrasing is not to be found in Kant’s works. 47 Green, Prolegomena to Ethics, 22. 48 Green, Prolegomena to Ethics, 38. 49 Alexander Bain, Mental and Moral Science: Part First—Psychology and History of Philosophy, 3rd edn (London, 1872), 198. On the echoes of Bain’s study in Wilde’s notebook, see Joseph Bristow, ‘Wilde’s Abstractions: Notes on Literæ Humaniores, 1876–1878’, in Oscar Wilde and Classical Antiquity, ed. Alastair Blanchard, Iarla Manny, and Kathleen Riley (Oxford, 2017), 69–88. 50 See, for example, W. E. Gladstone’s attack on Butler’s ‘censors’ (especially Sarah Hennell, Walter Bagehot, Leslie Stephen, and Matthew Arnold), and Stephen’s criticism of Gladstone’s position: Gladstone, ‘Bishop Butler’s and His Censors’, Nineteenth Century, 38 (1895), 715–39, 1056–74, and Stephen, ‘Bishop Butler’s Apologist’, Nineteenth Century, 39 (1896), 106–22. 51 Schroeder traces the wording of Vivian’s remark to a leader in the Daily News, 7 July 1885, by Andrew Lang (‘The OET Edition of “The Decay of Lying”’, 22). 52 Schroeder, ‘The OET Edition of “The Decay of Lying”’, 24. William Shakespeare, Antony and Cleopatra, II, iii, 245–46, ed. John Wilders, Arden Shakespeare (London, 1995), 142. 53 Schroeder, ‘The OET Edition of “The Decay of Lying”’, 24. Schroeder is quoting from Symonds, ‘The Model’, Fortnightly Review, 42 (1887), 859. 54 Pater, ‘Style’, 730. Neither Guy nor Schroeder draws attention to this verbal echo of Pater’s essay. 55 Guy, ‘Commentary’, in Complete Works, iv, 378–79. ‘One touch of nature makes the whole world kin’, William Shakespeare, Troilus and Cressida, III, ii, 176, ed. David M. Bevington, Arden Shakespeare (London, 2015), 277. 56 James McNeill Whistler, ‘Mr Whistler’s Ten O’Clock’ (1885), in The Gentle Art of Making Enemies (London, 1890), 151–52. Guy truncates Whistler’s quotation so that it is not clear that the artist is condemning, rather than endorsing, ‘Nature’ in this instance (‘Commentary’, in Complete Works, iv, 378). 57 Émile Zola, Le Roman expérimental (Paris, 1880), 135. Guy presents the concluding words of this quotation as ‘la formule de naturalisme’ (‘Commentary’, in Complete Works, iv, 370). 58 ‘Robert Elsmere’, The Times, 7 April 1888, 5, and Gladstone, ‘“Robert Elsmere” and the Battle of Belief’, Nineteenth Century, 23 (1888), 777. 59 Mrs Humphry Ward, Robert Elsmere, single volume edn (London, 1888), 322. 60 Ward, Robert Elsmere, 322. 61 Arnold, Literature and Dogma (London, 1873), 12. 62 Arnold, Literature and Dogma, 12. 63 Arnold, Literature and Dogma, 125. 64 Arnold, ‘The Bishop and the Philosopher’, Macmillan’s Magazine, 7 (1863), 241. 65 Arnold, ‘The Bishop and the Philosopher’, 245. As R. H. Super points out, Arnold adapts the wording and formulae to be found in Colenso’s writings; Super directs us to Colenso, The Pentateuch and Book of Joshua Critically Examined, 7 vols (1862–1879), i, 62 (Arnold, Lectures and Essays in Criticism, in The Complete Prose Works of Matthew Arnold, 11 vols (Ann Arbor, MI, 1960–1977), iii, 419). 66 Pater, ‘Robert Elsmere’, in Essays from the ‘Guardian’ (London, 1896), 62–63, 71. 67 The anonymous reviewer commented that Wilde ‘stumbled a little…with his natural history’ (‘The Happy Prince, and Other Tales’, Saturday Review, 20 October 1888, 472). Guy records the reference (‘Commentary’, in Complete Works, iv, 390). 68 As Guy notes, the wording echoes Hamlet’s speech in which he discusses the need to ‘[s]uit the action to the word, the word to the action’ as a ‘special observance’ that ‘was and is to hold as ’twere the mirror up to nature’ (Hamlet, III, ii, 16–17, ed. Ann Thompson and Neil Taylor, Arden Shakespeare (London, 2006), 297). 69 Wilde, ‘Art at Willis’s Rooms’, 25 December 1887, 7, repr. in Complete Works, vii, 40. Guy records this comment in her ‘Commentary’, in Complete Works, iv, 390. 70 Pater, The Renaissance, ed. Hill, 190. 71 For a detailed discussion of the distinctions Wilde makes between what were to him ‘right realism’ and unacceptable realism, see Molly Youngkin, ‘The Aesthetic Character of The Woman’s World’, in Joseph Bristow (ed.), Wilde Discoveries: Traditions, Histories, Archives (Toronto, 2013), 121–42. 72 Walter Pater, ‘Style’, 733. 73 Oscar Wilde, ‘The Child-Philosopher’, Court and Society Review, 4 (1887), 379–80, in Journalism Part I, ed. Stokes and Turner, Complete Works, vi, 152. 74 The final phrasing of Wilde’s commentary on Twain’s essay anticipates the culmination of ‘The Decay of Lying’: ‘when the world has grown weary’ of realist novelists and the banalities of the telephone, ‘the child-philosopher will be treasured by the scientific historian as the best criticism upon modern education, the best epigram on modern life’ (Complete Works, vi, 154). At the end of ‘The Decay of Lying’, Wilde expands this sentiment: ‘And when that day dawns, or sunset reddens, how joyous we shall be! Facts will be regarded as discreditable, Truth will be found mourning over her fetters, and Romance, with her temper of wonder, will return to the land’ (NC, 54). 75 Mark Twain, ‘On the Decay of the Art of Lying’, in The Stolen White Elephant (Boston, MA, 1882), 218. 76 Twain, ‘On the Decay of the Art of Lying’, 219. 77 Twain, ‘On the Decay of the Art of Lying’, 221, 224. 78 Twain, ‘On the Decay of the Art of Lying’, 224. 79 Twain, ‘On the Decay of the Art of Lying’, 221. 80 C. Elliot Browne, ‘The Art of Lying’, New Quarterly Magazine, 8 (1877), 156. 81 Browne, ‘The Art of Lying’, 158. 82 Browne, ‘The Art of Lying’, 158. 83 Pater, it is worth noting, makes parallel observations in ‘Style’, though he does not go so far as to invoke the barefaced practice of lying as an art form in its own right. Instead, he observes that such influential historians as Gibbon, Livy, Tacitus, and Michelet move ‘full of poignant sensibility amid the records of past’ in a literary manner that ensures they become ‘something else than a transcriber’; instead, each ‘modifies’ the factual records, and thus passes ‘into the domain of art proper’ (Pater, ‘Style’, 730). 84 Browne, ‘The Art of Lying’, 179. 85 George Eliot, Adam Bede (Harmondsworth, 2008), 195. On Wilde’s knowledge of Adam Bede, see Rebecca N. Mitchell, ‘“Simply a Girl in a Village”: A Precedent for Hetty Merton’, Wildean, 36 (2010), 61–68. 86 [Anon.,] ‘The Reviews for January’, Pall Mall Gazette, 2 January 1889, 7. 87 [Alice Meynell,] ‘The Unit of the World’, Scots Observer, 2 February 1889, 296. 88 [Meynell,] ‘The Unit of the World’, 296. 89 [Meynell,] ‘The Unit of the World’, 296. 90 [Meynell,] ‘The Unit of the World’, 297. 91 Richard Le Gallienne, ‘Intentions’, Academy, 4 July 1891, 9. 92 Le Gallienne, ‘Intentions’, 9. 93 Le Gallienne, ‘Intentions’, 9. 94 The substantial literature on Wilde’s apparent penchant for plagiarism and self-plagiarism includes Guy, ‘Self-Plagiarism, Creativity and Craftsmanship in Oscar Wilde’, English Literature in Transition, 1880-1920, 41 (1998), 6–23, and Joseph Bristow and Rebecca N. Mitchell, Oscar Wilde’s Chatterton: Literary History, Romanticism, and the Art of Forgery (New Haven, CT, 2015), 160–213. 1 For additional discussion of the manuscript’s journey through successive owners, see Bristow and Mitchell, ‘The Provenance of Oscar Wilde’s “Decay of Lying”’, Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America, 111.2 (2017), 221–40. It remains unclear when Wilde made a gift of the manuscript. 2 Stuart Mason [Christopher Sclater Millard], Bibliography of Oscar Wilde (London, 1914), 123. 3 See John Paul Riquelme, ‘Oscar Wilde’s Anadoodlegram: A Genetic, Performative Reading of An Ideal Husband’, in Joseph Bristow (ed.), Wilde Discoveries: Traditions, Histories, Archives (Toronto, 2013), 289–314. 4 Guy, ‘Introduction’, in Criticism: Historical Criticism, Intentions, The Soul of Man, ed. Josephine M. Guy, The Complete Works of Oscar Wilde, 7 vols to date (Oxford: 2000-continuing) iv, xxxvii. One folio stands out among in the bound Berg manuscript. Guy includes f.19—which addresses The Enchanted Island, the Wake Bayliss novel that Wilde reviewed in the 25 January 1889 issue of the Pall Mall Gazette—in her stemma, though she notes in an appendix to her edition that ‘it is possible that the folio is not part of any draft of “The Decay of Lying”’ (585). We concur with this conclusion, noting that the page number ‘27’, cited by Guy as being ‘in Wilde’s hand’, is in fact composed of a ‘2’ written in black ink in Wilde’s distinctive hand and a penciled-in ‘7’ that appears to have been written by someone else, possibly at a later date. That the content of the folio appears nowhere in any published version of ‘The Decay of Lying’—or in the Pall Mall review, further suggests that the folio was inadvertently included in the bound Berg manuscript. 5 See [Millard], Bibliography, 121. 6 The Decay of Lying: A Dialogue] The title is rendered in caps in NC 7 Scene … House] Double underlining, em rule, and underlining in pencil; ‘Scene’, is rendered in small caps in NC 8 Persons … Vivian] Double underlining on ‘Persons’, dash, and single underlining on ‘Cyril and Vivian’, written in pencil. Single underlining on ‘a’, ‘in’, ‘and’, and wavy line and double underlining on ‘Cyril’ and ‘Vivian’ in black ink. 9 Cyril … terrace] In pencil: single underlining on parenthetical, and full stop struck from inside parenthetical and added outside, and double vertical rule inserted after full stop. ‘Cyril’, and ‘Vivian’ are rendered in small caps in NC. 10 Struck with wavy line in ink. 11 Art] art NC 12 Art] art NC 13 Art] art NC 14 Nature] Here and throughout, it can be difficult to distinguish between Wilde’s capital N and lower case n. In general, NC uses the lower case for many nouns that Wilde capitalises in AK, and many of these instances are corrected to Wilde’s preferred capitalisation in the later published editions. 15 C.] Inserted in pencil. 16 Cyril] In ink and struck in pencil; similar marks continue throughout AK. 17 V.] Inserted in pencil. 18 Vivian] In ink and struck in pencil. Similar marks continue throughout AK. 19 That are … Creator.] Struck with wavy line in black ink. 20 Nature] nature NC 21 Nature] nature NC 22 Every thing] Everything NC 23 Egoism] Struck with two wavy lines in ink. 24 Nature] nature NC 25 this] overwrites another, illegible word (? it) 26 C yril] Underlining in ink; struck in pencil. 27 V ivian] Underlining in ink; struck in pencil. 28 Besides] ∼, NC 29 wont] won’t NC 30 Lying] lying NC 31 Art] art 32 ?] Question mark inserted in pencil. 33 dont] don’t NC 34 over thirty … are] Struck with wavy line. 35 thirty one] Struck with wavy line. 36 Club] club NC 37 sofa .).] Full stop inside parenthetical struck in pencil; full stop outside parenthetical added in pencil. 38 voice .).] Full stop inside parenthetical struck in pencil; full stop outside parenthetical added in pencil. 39 ‘The Decay … Protest.—] The single open quotation mark, the double underlining, and the final dash in this line are all added in pencil. Typesetter also marked AK to print the title ‘The Decay of Lying: A Protest’ in line with the text, not offset as Wilde indicated. It should be noted that the typesetter failed to include a closed single quotation mark, an error that is duplicated in the version of the essay printed in NC. The open double quotation mark before ‘One’ is om. from the NC version as well. The title is in small caps in NC. 40 Lying] lying Berg and NC 41 fact] facts Berg 42 gives] Struck with wavy line. 43 Blue-book] blue-book Berg and NC 44 manner] matter Berg 45 ‘document humain’ … ‘coin de la creation’] both foreign phrases are underlined with wavy line in AK; document humain … coin de la création NC 46 ideas] ∼, Berg and NC 47 Encylopaedias] encyclopædias NC 48 himself.”] ∼’. 49 Poetry] poetry NC 50 arts, arts] arts; arts, as Berg; arts—arts, as NC 51 saw] ∼, Berg and NC 52 the more material arts of] om. Berg 53 Liar] liar Berg and NC 54 possible] ∼, NC 55 for] of Berg 56 surroundings,] ∼^ Berg 57 accuracy…] ∼— NC 58 dont] don’t NC 59 fatal] om. Berg 60 Life] life NC 61 one] body Berg 62 facts,] ∼^ Berg 63 Art] art NC 64 Beauty] beauty NC 65 land.”] ∼. NC 66 is tainted with this] what we must call this Berg 67 we] appears in lighter ink, suggesting later revisions. 68 know] appears in lighter ink, suggesting later revisions. 69 For … other] for there is really /positively\ no other Berg 70 ‘The Black Arrow’] The Black Arrow NC 71 it does not contain] it has not got Berg 72 out of] in Berg 73 The Lancet] the underlining of ‘The’ is struck with pencil in AK; the Lancet NC 74 Haggard] ∼, Berg and NC 75 marvellous,] ∼^ Berg 76 caustic] subtle Berg 77 le beau ciel d’Italie] the underlining is struck with a wavy line in violet ink in AK; not italicised in NC. 78 ‘Robert Elsemere’] Robert Elsmere NC 79 “genre ennuyant”] “genre ennuyeux” NC 80 /could\ be] is Berg; could be NC 81 A thoughtful … give to it.\] It reads like extracts from the sort of conversation that goes on at a meat-tea in the house of a serious Nonconformist family. Berg; om. NC. 82 and daily-increasing] om. Berg 83 crude,] ∼^ Berg 84 raw.”] ∼. NC 85 tedious] dull Berg 86 ‘Robert Elsemere’] Robert Elsmere NC 87 style,] ∼^ Berg 88 ever body] everybody NC 89 literature] Literature Berg 90 l’esprit] ∼, Berg and NC. The underlining of ‘L’homme de genie n’a’ is struck and the accent in ‘génie’ is added in violet ink in AK. The French phrase is not italicized in NC. 91 Art] art NC. In Berg, the sentence reads: ‘But how absolutely wrong it all is! Not on the ground of morals but on the ground of Art’. 92 [illegible] I] Indeed I Berg. In AK, Wilde might have begun to write ‘Indeed’ before striking the first two, now illegible, letters 93 of our time] om. Berg 94 in favour] in M. Zola’s favour Berg 95 ‘L’Assommoir’] L’Assommoir NC 96 ‘Nana’] Nana NC 97 ‘Pot-Bouille’] Pot-Bouille NC. Quotation marks on novel titles are struck in violet ink. 98 much] om. Berg 99 dont] don't NC 100 M. Daudet] M. Alphonse Daudet Berg 101 No body] No one Berg; Nobody NC 102 ‘Il faut lutter pour l’art’] underlining is stuck through with wavy line in violet ink in AK. In Berg, quotation continues with ‘Je n’ai pas le droit de renouncer’. The phrase is not italicised in NC. 103 ‘Jack’] Quotation marks om. and the novel’s title italicised in NC 104 mots cruels] Phrase is not italicised in NC; underlining is struck through with wavy line in violet ink. 105 ‘Vingt s Ans de ma Vie Litteraire’] Quotation marks are struck in violet ink in AK. Quotation marks are omitted and the novel’s title italicised in NC. 106 Directly taken] directly copied Berg; taken directly NC 107 qualities] qualities that Berg 108 who] that Berg 109 go] go directly Berg 110 personages] ∼, Berg 111 creations] ∼^ Berg 112 analyzed] analysed NC 113 analyzes] analyses NC 114 Human Nature] human nature NC 115 any one] anyone NC 116 analyzing] analysing NC 117 However … novels] Final two lines are struck with straight and wavy lines in AK. 118 I quite admit … quite unreadable] so I will content myself with saying that they have many good qualities, but that, as a class, they are quite absolutely unreadable Berg 119 ‘Robert Elsemere’] Robert Elsmere NC 120 I like “Robert Elsemere” for instance.] you are unfair to our modern novelists. I like “Robert Elsemere” Berg 121 as a serious work] as in any true sense a serious work Berg 122 “Literature and Dogma”] Literature and Dogma NC 123 ‘Evidences’] Evidences NC 124 exegesis.] ∼. It is behind the age. Berg 125 that] than NC 126 Upon] On NC 127 Ah! Meredith! … knee to Baal.] In Berg, this section varies considerably; Vivian says: ‘I accept your definition of George Meredith with pleasure, and I would remind you that if one has so dreadful a parent as Realism the only thing left for one to do is to decline to parley with him. Meredith is certainly most remarkable. His style is chaos illumined by flashes of lightning. As a writer, he has mastered everything, except language; as a novelist he can do everything, except tell a story; as an artist he is everything except articulate. Somebody in Shakespeare— Touchstone, I think, —talks about a man who is always breaking his shins over his wit, and it has always seem eds to me that this might serve as a the basis of a criticism of Meredith’s style—But | Cyril His want of style, you mean | Vivian. Not at all. Meredith is one of the few people writing who have style. Meredith is, at heart, a /true\ Romanticist. He has not bowed the knee to Baal’. 128 Realist] realist NC 129 Romanticist] romanticist NC 130 and,] ∼^ NC 131 “L’Assommoir”] L’Assommoir NC 132 “Illusions Perdues”] Illusions Perdues NC 133 ‘Salammbo’] Salammbô NC 134 ‘Esmond’] underlining in pencil AK; Esmond NC 135 The Cloister on /and\ the Hearth] underling and insertion of ‘and’ in pencil AK; The Cloister and the Hearth NC 136 ‘Vicomte de Bragelonne’; underlining in black ink AK; Vicomte de Bragelonne NC 137 Surroundings] ∼, NC 138 Art] art NC 139 subject matter] subject-matter NC 140 partizan] partisan NC 141 “The Cloister and the Hearth”] underlining in pencil AK; The Cloister and the Hearth NC 142 “Romola”] underlining in pencil AK; Romola NC 143 “Romola”] underlining in pencil AK; Romola NC 144 “Daniel Deronda”] underlining in pencil AK; Daniel Deronda NC 145 prisons,] ∼^ NC 146 administration,] ∼; NC 147 We] Certainly we NC 148 now.] ∼:—’ NC 149 “The popular … Nature:] Let us return to life, is the popular cry of our time, let us return o life and /to\ nature, Berg 150 /But\ Alas!] But, alas! NC 151 Nature] nature NC 152 If] ∼, NC 153 hand] ∼, NC 154 Nature] nature NC 155 Nature] nature NC 156 Poetry] poetry NC 157 Vivian .] Full stop struck in pencil AK 158 work dealing with what] work, with what Berg 159 first] early Berg 160 [circle.] In AK, the use of the square bracket (written in ink, with a small ‘9’. or ‘g’ at its foot) is unclear. In NC, a new page begins with ‘circle’. 161 re-creates] recreates NC 162 fact] facts, re-writes history when she chooses, Berg 163 ‘Drama] drama NC’ 164 she] it Berg 165 she] it Berg 166 Life] life NC 167 her] its Berg 168 lovers’] lover’s NC 169 Gods] gods NC 170 Caesar] Cæsar NC 171 the river] the riverBerg 172 myth,] ∼^ NC 173 legend,] ∼^ NC 174 and there … dramatists] and there was not a single dramatist—not even Heywood himself— Berg 175 the object … Beauty] the object of art is not simple truth but complex beauty NC 176 Art] art NC 177 Art herself … over-emphasis] Art herself was is simply an exaggeration, the spirit of art, which is selection, nothing more than an intensified form of over-emphasis Berg 178 Life] life NC 179 end!] In AK, an exclamation mark or full stop rendered as flourish is connected to the ‘d’ in ‘end’; this is rendered as a full stop in NC. 180 Life] life NC 181 Art surrenders … every thing] art surrenders her imaginative medium she surrenders everything NC 182 In der...Meister,] Printer's pencil mark with illegible word at start of line; the quotation is set in smaller font on its own line in NC 183 “The Tempest”] ‘The TempestNC 184 Life] life NC 185 Life] life NC 186 there] their NC 187 Orientalism] ∼, NC 188 Byzantium] ∼, NC 189 Sicily] ∼, NC 190 Spain] ∼, NC 191 convention] conventions NC 192 whatsoever.] ∼; NC 193 the] The NC 194 detestable;] ∼. NC 195 we] We NC 196 England] ∼, NC 197 ago] ∼, NC 198 become] ∼, NC 199 Philistine] ∼, NC 200 Mahommedan] Mahomaden NC 201 me] ∼, NC 202 Commandment] commandment NC 203 an an] an NC 204 the proper school … Art] the proper school to learn art in is not Life but Art’ NC 205 literature] ∼:— NC 206 It was not … always thus] always thus in literature Berg 207 who] ∼, Berg and NC 208 history] ∼, Berg and NC 209 “The Father of Lies”] ‘the “Father of Lies”’ NC 210 ‘Natural History’] Natural History NC 211 ‘Periplus’] Periplus NC 212 Hanno’s ‘Periplus’ … Lives of the Saints] om. Berg 213 Lycosthenes] ∼, NC 214 ‘Prodigiorum et Ostentorum Chronicon’] Prodigiorum et Ostentorum Chronicon NC 215 Defoe’s … Plague’] Defoe’s account of the plague Berg; Defoe’s History of the Plague NC 216 Boswell’s ‘Life of Johnson’] om. Berg; Boswell’s Life of Johnson NC 217 and in the works … our own] and in the elder Dumas and our Berg 218 Carlyle] ∼, Berg and NC 219 ‘French Revolution’] French Revolution NC 220 dullness] dulness NC 221 every thing] everything NC 222 place] om. NC 223 are usurping] have usurped Berg 224 every thing] everything NC 225 dull] crude Berg 226 ideals] ∼, Berg and NC 227 hero] ∼, Berg and NC 228 man] ∼, Berg and NC 229 lie,] ∼; Berg 230 time] ∼, NC 231 My] pencil correction to capitalise M AK 232 cherry tree] cherry-tree NC 233 However] ∼, NC 234 this.] ∼:— NC 235 Society] society NC 236 leader] ∼, Berg and NC 237 first] ∼, Berg and NC 238 chase] ∼, Berg and NC 239 how he dragged … /tusks\] he had slain |the Mammoth in single combat and |brought back his gilded tusks, or | dragged the Megatherium from the purple | darkness of her jasper cave Berg 240 golden] gilded Berg 241 anthropologists] ∼, NC 242 science] ∼, NC 243 Liar] liar NC 244 civilized] civilised Berg and NC 245 party ] ∼, Berg and NC 246 great] ∼, Berg and NC 247 Society,] ∼^ NC 248 Authors.”] Authors.^ NC 249 Society] society NC 250 Realism] Realism and abandoning the /wicked\ tents of those peripatetic photographers who call themselves Naturalistic novelists Berg; realism NC 251 him] ∼, Berg 252 false] ∼, NC 253 Life,] ∼— NC 254 human] om. Berg 255 Life,] ∼— NC 256 reproduce] ∼, NC 257 talks.”] ∼. NC 258 like a recent writer in the Saturday Review,] om. Berg 259 teller] writer Berg 260 Fairy Tales] fairy tales NC 261 gentleman] ∼, NC 262 garden] ∼, Berg and NC 263 travels] travels in strange lands, Berg 264 or] ∼, NC 265 Raleigh] ∼, NC 266 History of the World] history of the world NC 267 past] subject Berg 268 magician] ∼, NC 269 as his servants] to serve him Berg 270 In AK, illegible word inserted here, running between this and the following line. 271 Isle,] ∼^ NC 272 Kings] kings NC 273 art-matters.] art-matters.’ NC 274 Another] double underlining in pencil AK 275 cigarette,] comma in pencil AK 276 Please] Written in pencil, apparently by the typesetter; Wilde writes ‘please’ at the top of the following page AK 277 Art] ∼, Berg; art NC 278 than] then Berg 279 passage.] ∼:—  NC 280 Botanist] botanist NC 281 has] ∼, NC 282 deep] ∼, Berg 283 almond-tree] almond tree NC 284 word] bidding Berg 285 Dryads] dryads NC 286 Fauns] fauns NC 287 Gods] gods NC 288 Centaurs] centaurs NC 289 Is that … article?] Is that the end of this dangerous article? NC 290 Lying] lying NC 291 Life] life NC 292 Life] life NC 293 cracked—] em rule is struck in black ink AK 294 dont] don’t NC 295 say that] say that you NC 296 Life] life NC 297 Art] art NC 298 Life] life NC 299 Art] art NC 300 seem,] ∼—NC 301 things,] ∼— NC 302 Life imitates … imitates Life] life imitates art far more than art imitates life NC 303 Private] private NC 304 the the] the NC 305 Greeks] ∼, NC 306 instinct] ∼, NC 307 Life] life NC 308 Art] art NC 309 Art] art NC 310 Realism] realism NC 311 condition] conditions NC 312 Art] art NC 313 artist,] ∼^ NC 314 Life’s] life’s NC 315 anaylzed] analysed NC 316 enthusiasm] ∼, NC 317 debris] debris NC 318 it] ∼, NC 319 Comedie] Comédie NC 320 in part] partly NC 321 Square] ∼, NC 322 enquired] inquired NC 323 “Vanity Fair”] Vanity Fair NC 324 society] ∼, NC 325 and and] and NC 326 ‘The Newcomes’] The Newcomes NC 327 transformation] ∼, NC 328 station] ∼, NC 329 mean] ∼, NC 330 hurt] ∼, NC 331 it,] ∼^ NC 332 was] ∼, NC 333 however] ∼, NC 334 followed] ∼, NC 335 appearance] ∼, NC 336 possibility] ∼, NC 337 race-meetings] ∼, NC 338 immediately] ∼, NC 339 Hotel] hotel. NC 340 her] ∼, NC 341 evening] ∼, NC 342 her] ∼, NC 343 However] ∼, NC 344 Life] life NC 345 Art] art NC 346 Art] art NC 347 Life] life NC 348 Art] art NC 349 Life,] life— NC 350 Life] life, NC 351 it,] ∼— NC 352 Art] art NC 353 them] ∼, NC 354 Rene] Werther NC 355 Caesar] Cæsar NC 356 Life] life NC 357 Art] art NC 358 produced?] ∼. NC 359 Art never … herself] Art never expresses anything but herself NC 360 (This] Opening parenthesis inserted in blue pencil. 361 aesthetics,] ∼; NC 362 |] Vertical rule inserted in blue pencil; in Berg, the preceding lines read: ‘Art never expresses anything but itself, and it is this, and not the /any\ vital connexion between form and substance, that makes Music the true type of all the arts. 363 Course] ∼, NC 364 and] as well as Berg 365 individuals] ∼, NC 366 egotism /vanity\] egotism Berg 367 Apollo] ∼, NC 368 marvellous] ∼, NC 369 medium,] ∼^ Berg and NC 370 material,] ∼^ Berg and NC 371 time,] ∼^ NC 372 place,] ∼^ NC 373 the the] the NC 374 is] ∼, NC 375 Emperors] emperors NC 376 civilization] civilisation NC 377 Sibyls] sibyls NC 378 Prophets] prophets NC 379 Renaissance,] ∼; NC 380 is] ∼, NC 381 art] ∼, NC 382 ideal,] ∼; NC 383 dont] don’t NC 384 had /the slightest\] bore NC 385 mediaeval] mediæval NC 386 mediaeval] mediæval NC 387 mediaeval] mediæval NC 388 M.S.S.] MSS. NC 389 did,] ∼^ Berg 390 as we know … art] as they are presented to us in art NC 391 of] of a NC 392 If you set … between them.] If you take a photograph of a Japanese gentleman or a gentl Japanese lady and set it beside a picture by Hokusai, or Hokkei, or any of the great Japanese artists, you will see that there is not the slightest resemblance between them. Berg 393 people,] ∼; NC 394 say] ∼, NC 395 curious,] ∼^ NC 396 commonplace … about them] commonplace, and without anything wonderful, or strange, or imaginative about them Berg 397 called] named NC 398 hopes] foolish hope NC 399 as any … Dowdeswells.] as delightful exhibition at Messrs. Dowdeswell's Gallery showed only too well. NC 400 Do you believe] om. Berg 401 who sat in … building.] that sit in the triangular pediment? Berg; ∼? NC 402 art] ∼, NC 403 art] Art NC 404 art] Art NC 405 absolutely] absolute NC 406 The punctuation in AK is ambiguous; it is either a full stop or an em rule. 407 They paint … anything] They paint what the public sees, and the public never sees anything NC 408 Well] ∼, NC 409 would] should NC 410 We are] Ours is NC 411 Why] ∼, NC 412 Sleep has … dreams] Sleep herself has not escaped the baneful influences of our time. She has closed up the gates of ivory, and opened the gates of horn, and the dreams Berg 413 transactions] Transactions NC 414 There] They NC 415 commonplace …probable] commonplace and probable Berg 416 succeeds] ∼, NC 417 belief] ∼, NC 418 clergyman] ∼, NC 419 charity] ∼, NC 420 article] ∼:— NC 421 is our … to do] is our duty Berg 422 art] habit Berg 423 Lying] lying NC 424 done] ∼, Berg and NC 425 public] ∼, Berg and NC 426 lying] ∼, NC 427 instance,] ∼— NC 428 called] ∼— NC 429 bride of …. lyric] bride of one of Horace’s most exquisite odes NC 430 rose] grew NC 431 Indeed] ∼, NC 432 primer] ∼, NC 433 Lie,] ∼^ NC 434 How”,] how,” NC 435 Republic] Republic NC 436 development] ∼, NC 437 political-leader writer] political leader-writer NC 438 Lying] lying NC 439 Lying] lying NC 440 Lying] lying NC 441 X] written in blue pencil AK 442 Beauty] beauty NC 443 Truth] truth NC 444 Fantasy] fantasy NC 445 Vertical rule inserted in blue pencil AK 446 false] lying Berg; ∼, NC 447 hear] heed Berg 448 someday] ∼, Berg; some day, NC 449 wings.”] ∼.^ NC 450 happy] joyous NC 451 Romance] ∼, NC 452 wonder] ∼, NC 453 In Berg, the following sentence, including opening square parenthesis, in inserted at this point: [And when that day dawns, or sunset | reddens, how happy we shall all be! 454 Out of the … Leviathan] Behemoth and Leviathan will rise out of the ocean sea Berg; ∼ Leviathan, NC 455 Geography] geography NC 456 Phoenix] phoenix NC 457 will] shall NC 458 Basilisk] basilisk NC 459 Hippogriff] hippogriff NC 460 gilded] golden Berg 461 cultivate] ∼ it NC 462 Briefly] ∼, NC 463 then] ∼, NC 464 archaicising] archaistic NC 465 later] late NC 466 Pre-Raphaelite] pre-Raphaelite NC 467 It] In NC 468 Life] life NC 469 Nature] nature NC 470 Nature] nature NC 471 Art’s] art’s NC 472 Art] art NC 473 every thing] everything NC 474 subject matter] subject-matter NC 475 its] that NC 476 formulated] formularised NC 477 art] Art NC 478 Terrace] terrace NC 479 Nature] nature NC 480 her] its NC 481 Come.] ∼! NC © The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press 2017; all rights reserved http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Review of English Studies Oxford University Press

Oscar Wilde’s ‘cultivated blindness’: Reassessing the Textual and Intellectual History of ‘The Decay of Lying’