The Satyricon of Petronius. by (CARRINGTON, Charles, publisher). PETRONIUS.

~ The Satyricon of Petronius. [Nijmegen: Thieme for Charles Carrington in Paris, 1902].

8vo (198 × 135 mm), pp. [iii]-xciii, [1], 421, [1] (adverts), wanting final advert leaf (with additional limitation/colophon on verso) . Printed overslip pasted over original imprint (see below), title, ornaments and headings partially in red. Half-title/limitation leaf browned on recto. Original publisher’s half vellum, tan morocco spine labels, top edge gilt, others uncut. Slightly rubbed and soiled, lower spine label with some loss. A good copy.

First Carrington edition, one of 440 copies on handmade paper (of a total edition of 515), this copy with the pasted overslip on the title reading: ‘Important notice. The present translation was done direct from the original Latin by “Sebastian Melmoth” (Oscar Wilde).’ --- a spurious claim. With its overtly homosexual themes, the Satyricon, was certainly important to Wilde (he even refers to it explicitly in A Picture of Dorian Gray) but Carrington’s scurrilous claim has always been disputed. It is only relatively recently, however, that an explicit retraction forced upon Carrington was found in an insert published (ironically) with his 1909 edition of Dorian Gray. Only a proportion of the edition contains the overslip pasted over Carrington’s name. In our copy the final advert leaf with colophon giving the printer’s name has been carefully and deliberately removed, perhaps before binding. The binding here is identical to that of the Eccles copy preserved in the British Library, thus suggestive of a publisher’s binding. Boroughs, R., ‘Oscar Wilde’s Translation of Petronius: The Story of a Literary Hoax,’ English Literature in Transition: 1880—1920 38, p. 9-49. Bn Catalogue: ‘Dans un de ses catalogues de vente, n° 5, Charles Carrington, l'éditeur, propose sous le n° 1403 un ouvrage qui semble identique, en attribuant dans le corps de la notice le travail à un "Oxford M.A.", avec en note : "Traduction attribuée à l'esthète célèbre le feu Oscar Wilde". On notera cependant que, dans la correspondance publiée, les deux seules allusions faites au "Satyricon" sont relatives au dossier de presse de "Dorian Gray", ouvrage dont Carrington avait acquis le copyright. De même il ne semble pas que les éléments d'apparat critique, "Introduction, Synopsis of the plot, List of books used", permettent de remonter jusqu'à un article d'Oscar Wilde sur ce sujet. Par contre Mason, "Bibliography"... n° 336, signale un encart de l'édition, publiée en 1909 par Charles Carrington, de "Picture of Dorian Gray"... indiquant qu'il n'attribuait plus ni la traduction de Pétrone ni celle de Barbey d'Aurevilly, à Wilde.

Keywords: english, erotica, literature
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