Item RC0763 - Rennell Rodd - Letter to Oscar Wilde

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Rennell Rodd - Letter to Oscar Wilde

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  • 1882 (Creation)

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One letter.

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Biographical history

James Rennell Rodd, diplomat and author, was born in London on 9 November 1858 and educated at Balliol College, Oxford. He served as British Ambassador in Rome, 1908-1919. Later, he was Conservative Member of Parliament for St. Marylebone, 1928-1932. He was created 1st Baron Rennell of Rodd in 1933.

He published 3 volumes of memoirs, Social and Diplomatic Memoirs (1922-1926) in addition to his poetry and prose.

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The recipient of the letter, Oscar Wilde, wit and dramatist (1854-1900) was a contemporary of Rodd's at Oxford. In 1881 Rodd published a book of verse, Songs in the South. Wilde had this book republished in the United States in 1882, when he was visiting there, by J.M. Stoddart & Co., of Philadelphia. The title was changed to Rose Leaf and Apple Leaf and Wilde wrote an introduction, "L'Envoi". The letter makes no reference to the book but was written to Wilde in the United States.

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Letter was purchased with the Stoddart edition of the book at Sotheby's on 13 December 1990. The book belonged to Vyvyan Holland who wrote on the front endpaper: "This book which ... Rennell was so ashamed of that he bought up any copies that came up for sale and destroyed them." The book has been catalogued.


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