Wilde Publishes "Poems"

When Oscar Wilde was twenty-six years old, he reached out to publisher David Bogue, eager to publish a volume of poems. There is little information about David Bogue or what else he had published, but his father was also a publisher and bookseller who traded as “Tilt and Bogue”. Wilde had previously published “A Chorus of Cloud Maidens” in the Dublin University Magazine in 1875“The Rose of Love” in Kottabos in 1876, and “Ravenna” in 1878A total of sixty-two of Wilde's poems were chosen to be printed and published under the straightforward title of "Poems". It is unclear who chose which poems went into “Poems”, but it is likely that Wilde played a large part in the decision. It was advertised the following month on The Athenaeum, which was a journal that focused on art, science, and literature. The Athenaeum ran from 1828 to 1921, when it merged with another journal, The Nation. Some of the poems included in Wilde’s “Poems” had already been in print, but others were new or revised poems, such as 'Magdalen Walks'. Wilde's poems originally received reviews that criticized him for being too aesthetic or unoriginal. Most of the positive reviews came from his brother or Oscar Browning, who was recruited specifically for the job because Wilde wanted someone intellectual who would really criticize him. Oscar Browning was a writer, historian, and educational reformer who helped found the Cambridge University Day Training College. There were seven hundred fifty copies of “Poems” printed, but they were released in three sections of 250. Each section was called a new edition, but the only real change was new binding. 


“David Bogue.” Artist | Royal Academy of Artswww.royalacademy.org.uk/art-artists/name/david-bogue-1. 

“The First Edition of Oscar Wilde's Poems (1881).” Magdalen College Oxford, 30 Nov. 2014, www.magd.ox.ac.uk/libraries-and-archives/illuminating-magdalen/news/first-edition-of-wildes-poems/. 

“The Online Books Page.” The Athenaeum Archives, onlinebooks.library.upenn.edu/webbin/serial?id=athenaeum. 

Poems : Wilde, Oscar, 1854-1900.” Internet Archive, Boston Robert Bros, 1 Jan. 1881, archive.org/details/poemsosc00wilduoft/page/n5/mode/2up?ref=ol&view=theater. 

Sticky Facts Editorial Staff. “Oscar Browning - Facts, Bio, Favorites, Info, Family.” Sticky Facts, 4 July 2018, thestickyfacts.com/oscar-browning-facts/. 

Associated Place(s)

Event date:

Jun 1881

Parent Chronology: