In a recent post I railed somewhat about the use of primary sources.
Some time ago the library released the new manuscript fragments of Canto III of The Ballad of Reading Gaol by Wilde with his comments; and the 140 page Wilde manuscript notebook of many draft poems and sketches.
Now it’s the turn of the only known typescript of Wilde’s French play Salomé which had just been uploaded.
The typescript contains many of Wilde’s handwritten emendations including his groundbreaking notation “elle danse la danse des sept voiles.” (She dances the dance of the seven veils.)
This discovery identifies for the first time not only the moment at which Wilde developed Salomé’s dance into one with seven veils, but, potentially, it is also the historical origin of such a dance. If great minds are not already at work on this conjunction they will be when I get around to it.
Gustave Moreau’s 1876 Salomé dansant devant Hérode (Salome dancing before Herod) descriptions of which in Joris-Karl Huysmans’s À rebours (Against Nature) had stimulated Wilde’s interest in the subject.
Watch as Wilde’s grandson Merlin Holland discusses the story of Salomé: