[WILDE] [Lord Alfred DOUGAS] "Belgian Hare" (author). E.T. REED (illustrator). Tails With A Twist. London: Edward Arnold. .
Landscape 4to. Original white cloth-backed pictorial boards illustrated in blue and red to upper cover; pp. v + ; with 20 full-page plates after engravings heightened in colours of green, blue, red, honey and tan; an unusually fresh copy with mild dust-soiling, and a slim dent, to spine; abrasions to board edges; a couple of slight scratches, and small wear to forecorners; internally clean and sound with cracking to inner hinges and some attendant neat glueing, but otherwise very clean throughout with only a couple of small, and insignificant, marks.
First edition. A series of ridiculous nonsense verses on the subject of animals. This book was, reportedly, a model for Hilaire Belloc's Bad Child's Book of Beasts.
Lord Alfred Douglas (1870-1945), or "Bosie" as he became known, was an author and poet who is principally remembered for his relationship with Oscar Wilde. Their liaison gave rise to intense scandal in the 1890s leading to world famous trials in 1895. Wilde was incarcerated for sodomy in that year, sentenced to 2 years hard labour in Pentonville Prison, and then, famously, in Reading Gaol, where he penned the long and critical letter to Douglas "De Profundis", which was published some years later. The two had met in 1891 and embarked on a relationship despite Wilde being married with two children. In 1895 Douglas' father, the Marquess of Queensbury, against his son's wishes, attempted to protect the family reputation by accusing Wilde of being a predatory sodomite. Against all advice Wilde decided to prosecute him for libel. The first trial resulted in a hung jury but the judge settled on a retrial in which Queensbury provided witnesses to prostitution which resulted in the collapse of Wilde's case and leaving him to cover the defendant's costs. Wilde was then found guilty of homosexual acts, which resulted in imprisonment. Douglas and Wilde met again in Rouen in 1897, following the latter's release, but societal pressures on the pair led to eventual separation. Wilde died not long afterwards.