The Spirit Lamp. Complete in 15 Issues. (With four entries by Oscar Wilde)
by Douglas, Lord Alfred (ed.)
Oxford: James Thornton, 1892. First edition. Softcover. vg. Octavo and Small Quarto. Continuous pagination for each volume. Vol I: six issues 92pp. Vol II: four issues 120pp. Vol. III: three issues 78pp. Vol. IV: two issues 100pp. Original tan, illustrated white and blue wraps in two green cloth portfolios housed in half morocco over green cloth slipcase with gilt lettering on spine; raised bands. A complete set of this rare Oxford publication."The Spirit Lamp" was an emphatically Uranian, contentious Oxonian undergraduate magazine edited by Lord Alfred Douglas. It contains the controversial letter Oscar Wilde wrote to his lover Lord Douglas transformed into a sonnet and translated into French by the poet Pierre Louys. Starting with issue no. III the magazine carried the subtitle "An Oxford Magazine without News." The subtitle was abandoned starting with issue No. II of volume II and the two issues of volume IV carry the new subtitle "An Aesthetic, Literary and Critical Magazine." In addition to his role as editor, Lord Douglas regularly contributed to the magazine. Oscar Wilde's contributions to "The Spirit Lamp" include "The House of Judgment," "Sonnet," "The New Remorse" and "The Disciple." Among the contributors to the magazine were John Addington Symonds, Lionel Johnson, Lord Henry Somerset, Count Eric Stenbek, A. R. Bayley, Gleeson White, Stanley Addleshaw, C. J. N. Fleming, and E. B. Osborn, among others.Cloth of slipcase and portfolios rubbed with portfolio spines sunned. Printed name sticker of Frederick Spiegelberg on inside front cover of first portfolio with pencil notes plus descriptive, printed text of title glued to inside cover. Inside joints of first portfolio cracked. Cover of first issue loose but present with few backs neatly repaired. Some light chipping along edges of a few covers. Some covers rubbed and some of the blocks uncut. Overall very good condition of this rare set of publications. No complete copies at auction in the past 50 years. "The Spirit Lamp" attracted Uranian readers, a 19th century term for a person of a "third sex." The rival Oxford magazine (The Ephemeral) called "The Spirit Lamp" an "unholy, decadent academy" while the editor of "The Spirit Lamp" advertised the magazine as a magazine for 'all who are interested in modern life and the new culture.'.
(Inventory #: 40543)
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