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    Oscar Wilde Writes to Bram Stoker Requesting Theatre Seats

    [Bram Stoker]. Oscar Wilde Autograph Letter Signed. One page, 5.75" x 7.5", [London], n. d. [circa 1880], to fellow Irishman and Dracula author, Bram Stoker. In full: "I am anxious to accompany you friend to the Lyceum tonight. If you could place a seat anywhere at my disposal I would be very much obliged." Smoothed folds show slight separation at the edges. One small .75" tear at the left edge does not affect the text.

    Oscar Wilde first met Bram Stoker, seven years his senior, at his parent's house in Dublin. Stoker, then a student at Trinity College, attended the literary parties hosted by Wilde's mother, herself a poet, and the two men became friends. The friendship, however, was nearly torn apart when Stoker married aspiring actress Florence Balcombe in 1878.

    For two years (beginning in 1876), Balcombe had been involved in a serious relationship with (and possibly engaged to) the young Oscar Wilde. At the time, Wilde was living abroad in England, attending Magdalen College (Oxford University), and rarely returned to Ireland. In the meantime, Stoker, a civil servant, had been appointed business manager of the Lyceum Theatre in London -- an appointment which may have been the determining factor in Balcombe's acceptance of the marriage proposal. No records appear to exist which contain any hint of how Stoker and Balcombe met and courted. Nevertheless, the two were married in 1878 and moved to London to take up his position at the Lyceum, leaving Wilde dejected. However, as this letter illustrates, within the course of a few years Wilde overcame his heartbreak and forgave Stoker.

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    3rd Thursday
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