Lord Alfred Douglas is the Yoko Ono of Victorian literature, known less for his own artistic accomplishments than for the scandal which surrounded his relationship with Oscar Wilde. His autobiographical work Without Apology was published in 1938 then went almost immediately out of print. The manuscript remained in a private collection for over sixty years until its purchase by the Clark library in 2004. I made the first comparison of the manuscript with the first and only print edition of the book in 2005, but this paper will be the first in which the challenges of being the editor of this work will be used to illuminate the role of editors of celebrity memoirs generally, both in the early half of the twentieth century and today. As the example of Lord Alfred’s editor demonstrates, the role involves delicate negotiations between the world of the celebrity and the world of the audience which include audience expectations of the celebrity, celebrity authors’ relationships with broader social mores, and differences in perceptions of past public activities within the scope of a private life between audience and celebrity. Additionally, the example of Lord Alfred and his editor permits the consideration of how specific issues ranging from homosexuality to monarchy must be navigated when publishing for a mainstream audience.
|Keywords:||Lord Alfred Douglas, Oscar Wilde, Without Apology, Editing, Bibliography|
Instructor, English Department, El Camino College, Redondo Beach, CA, USA
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