The Complete Works of Oscar Wilde.The Complete Works of Oscar Wilde. Volume 2: De Profundis De profundis (dā prōfn`dēs) [Lat.,=from the depths], the opening words of Psalm 130, one of the penitential Psalms, in Jerome's Latin version (see Vulgate); also used as a 'Epistola: In Carcere et Vinculis'. Ian Small, editor. Oxford University Press. [pounds sterling]80.00. vi + 345 pages. ISBN ISBN
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ISBN n abbr (= International Standard Book Number) → ISBN m 0-19-811062-3. In this second volume of Wilde's works we have his writings from Reading Gaol The old English word for jail.
GAOL. A prison or building designated by law or used by the sheriff, for the confinement or detention of those, whose persons are judicially ordered to be kept in custody. . The editor's aim is 'to establish an authoritative (and perhaps definitive) text', no easy task when it comes to Wilde's prison 'letter'. To do this Mr Small, a meticulous scholar and editor, presents the various documents, explains the difficulties and then gives readers an 'authoritative text' along with his basis for doing so. Mr Small is right to argue that Wilde's epistola, a part of which has been published as De Profundis, was meant to be a literary product in letter form, not a letter. He creates an 'eclectic text' based on Vyvyan Holland's 1949 text into which he has collated and interpolated material from the manuscript. There has been some reordering and the omission of 1000 words, here included in square brackets. He has given variant readings and detailed notes and at the end of the day has given us not just a marvellous piece of scholarship but as near to a definitive text as we shall ever get. (P.P.F.)