Friday, 14 January 2011

Oscar Wilde, Salomé (1891)

I came across a copy of Vyvyan Holland's translation of Wilde's Salomé in a charity shop recently. It's a nicely judged piece of Englishing, decadent without ever being over-ripe, and deftly capturing the languid cruelty of the original. The edition in question was a 1974 reprint of a 1957 edition, and even better than the translation were Frank Martin's rather nice illustrations. He manages to sidestep the oppressive reputation of Aubrey Beardsley's pen-and-inks, and mediate his compositions through a sweetly 1950s visual idiom, whilst staying close to the mood of Wilde's prose. The blue-black-white colouration is especially well chosen. Lovely, although a couple of them are a little too H&E Magazine for my taste. Not that I'm a prude, you understand. [Click on any image for a larger version]


springer said...

I never realized that Wilde had written this first in French. You've performed a valuable pedagogical service today, Mr. Punkadiddle.

Adam Roberts Project said...

More human than human is our motto. No, wait. 'We aim to serve'. That's our motto.