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The Faun of Rome: A Romance

by Oscar Wilde, edited by Nate Maturin

Nate Maturin, Author

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Letter 11: Wilde to Tafani, 15 May 1877

15 May, 1877

Merrion Sq


Dear Arturo,

My triumphs are rather more abundant than your own, it seems, dear Taf, although they remain petty, as anticipated. Mahaffy, who I had not thought to see again quite so soon, remains in a rage fury at my being rusticated. I consider it rather a triumph to whip him up each time we encounter <one> another, and I am sure that before the term is done he will have written to Allen defending my honour as a gentleman. What a kind soul he is!

I pursue my writing with a goodly enthusiasm, having set aside each morning to write. I have hopes that, in the future, art criticism and my poetry and the like may sustain me, as it seems unlikely that my properties will serve for me to live on. But that is well enough. We must all of us suffer a little for our enjoyment of life.

I have not given up my working upon Hawthorne’s romance, although you may be comforted that Mahaffy too disdains the project. So we find both Greek and Roman opposed to my plan! I should take that as discouragement were I not so thrilled at the disapproval. {Silly boy}

Hawthorne’s novel is fleshy in a rather literal sense; there are more pages than one requires! I am lately fascinated by the satyr’s role as model, as he is often termed in Hawthorne. Professional models, such as we know them today, and as Rossetti, Burne Jones and Whistler paint them, are a purely modern invention, which must do well enough in Rome as in London, or better, but they sit quite uneasily with me in Miriam’s story. The satyr is not such a model, at least not a paid one, and I doubt it is his natural grace that draws Miriam’s eye! But the word now bears that connotation, which might confuse the relation between he and she—although what that true relation is is a matter for each of us to determine according to his own conscience. I pursue my second volume in idle moments, and so propose soon to finish it.

As to fishing, I have not yet made it to Connemara [to the fishing lodge that Wilde inherited, Illaunroe NM], but will do so imminently. You may write to me there, or to Dublin, as you prefer. My letters will be sent on, if that is more convenient to you.


Faithfully,

Oscar

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