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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 17: Wilde to Tafani, 30 June 1877

30 June, 1877

1 Merrion Square North

Dear Arturo,

You might have written to me again after your visit to the Grosvenor to let me know your thoughts. I have waited a few days before sitting down to reply to you, in case you had.

I have all but completed Volume 2 now, and its shape has proven rather different than the one which I hazily imagined in our earlier correspondence. I see now that Hilda has a certain strength, but that its was her rejection of Miriam, rather than their sorority, which was the false note in Hawthorne’s novel. By rights, it must be Donatello whose society she rejects, and Kenyon must come to their aid in order to ensure that his influence is duly isolated. It is Miriam, as it seems to me, who is the unlucky, unwitting centre of a tragedy in which she caused no harm and yet is bound. I have taken a broader view of her situation than did Hawthorne, whose obsession with the malign and shadowy influence of the Papacy distorts the novel’s shape. I have asked Willie to read some pages from it, in order to gauge how it may play with a broader audience, less au fait with the places and references. He thought it went along ‘rather well’. High praise indeed!

The house has been rather full to bursting the last week or so with visitors during the day and guests during the evenings. It is jolly to have so much society, but rather a challenge for one with pages and pages still to write. I shall send you them all once they have been finished and copied out. I have still not quite given up the hope that it might be publishable, or at the very least serve a pedagogic purpose, and so reach other boys’ bookshelves by that means.


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