A lecture at the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library
—given by Dr. Rick Gekoski, Rare-book dealer and Writer
From the very start of his career, Oscar Wilde wanted to be noticed. He was the leading literary celebrity of his day, honed his epigrams, and ensured that his books were issued in beautiful limited editions, which would be attractive to collectors. Following his death an enormous market in Wilde books, manuscripts, letters and memorabilia developed, and a number of unscrupulous forgers took advantage of the burgeoning market for Wilde items. In the 1920s and 1930s a number of major collections were formed, of which William A. Clark's holdings were the most significant. Oscar is still avidly sought after, and, as a rare book dealer, Dr. Gekoski has been able to help several collectors put together noteworthy collections.
Dr. Rick Gekoski is one of the world’s leading bookmen: a writer, rare-book dealer, broadcaster and teacher. He is the author of three books which trace his major enthusiasms, Staying Up: A Fan’s View of a Season in the Premiership, Tolkien's Gown and Other Stories of Great Authors and Rare Books and Outside of a Dog: A Bibliomemoir, as well as a critical study of Joseph Conrad and a bibliography of William Golding. An American who left for England in 1966, he was for some years a member of the English Department at the University of Warwick, and chair of their Faculty of Arts. He has established two private presses, The Sixth Chamber Press and The Bridgewater Press, which issue finely printed editions of leading writers, novelists and poets. As a broadcaster, he has written and delivered two series for BBC Radio 4: Rare Books, Rare People and Lost, Stolen, or Shredded: The History of Some Missing Works of Art.
This biennial lecture on Oscar Wilde is made possible by a generous endowment founded by Mr. William Zachs.
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