Letters to the editor

  • With a strange concern over what seems to have been a minor comment in an earlier review:

    March 2, 1893

    To the editor of The Times

    Sir, -My attention has been drawn to a review of Salomé which was published in your columns last week. The opinions of the English critics on a French work of mine have, of course, little, if any, interest for me. I write simply to ask you to allow me to correct a misstatement that appears in the review in question.

    The fact that the greatest tragic actress of any stage now living saw in my play such beauty that she was anxious to produce it, to take herself the part of the heroine, to lend to the entire poem the glamour of her personality, and to my prose the music of her flute-like voice - this was naturally, and always will be, a source of pride and pleasure to me, and I look forward with delight to seeing Mme. Bernhardt present my play in Paris, that vivid centre of art, where religious dramas are often performed. But my play was in no sense of the words written for this great actress. I have never written a play for any actor or actress, nor shall I ever do so. Such work is for the artisan in literature, not for the artist.

    I remain, Sir, your obedient servant,

    Oscar Wilde