Betjeman Oscar Wilde manuscript at $9,500 in Roy Davids auction

The Roy Davids Collection of Poetry, undoubtedly among the finest of its kind, will include the manuscript of Sir John Betjeman's The Arrest of Oscar Wilde at the Cadogan Hotel when it sells on April 10 at Bonhams.

Betjeman Oscar Wilde Manuscript
A popular play currently running in London may boost the manuscript's sale price



This being the only manuscript of Betjeman's much-loved poem to appear at auction, it has been given a healthy £5,000-6,000 ($8,000-9,500) valuation.

Also featuring is the last John Keats manuscript in private hands and the manuscript for WH Auden's Stop All the Clocks.

The Arrest of Oscar Wilde at the Cadogan Hotel can expect to see strong attention, with David Hare's theatrical production The Judas Kiss, which dramatises Oscar Wilde's famous arrest, currently enjoying a successful run at London's Duke of York's theatre.

Betjeman wrote the poem in 1932, and it was published in the Oxford and Cambridge magazine in June 1933. His manuscript is handwritten on headed notepaper from The Architectural Review, where he worked as an assistant editor between 1930 and 1935.

The manuscript is very close to the final version, except for Betjeman's usage of "in the Cadogan Hotel", instead of the published "at the Cadogan Hotel".

Oscar Wilde was arrested for gross indecency with other men in 1895, following a law suit against his lover's father for libel that revealed evidence against the writer. He was subsequently sentenced to two years hard labour, after which he left immediately for France, never returning to Ireland or Britain.

Paul Fraser Collectibles has some great literary collectibles for sale, including Thomas Hardy's autograph and a signed, limited edition copy of Virginia Woolf's Orlando.

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