Thursday, October 3, 2013
William Andrews Clark Memorial Library
2520 Cimarron Street
—a lecture by Ellen Cromwell, Saint Louis University
A curious bookcase at the Clark, virtually unopened for over fifty years, contains an almost untouched archive of the publications and proceedings of a private London bibliophilic dining club, The Sette of Odd Volumes. Formed in London in 1878 by prominent bookseller Bernard Quaritch, it contains rare books, typed and handwritten letters, original artwork, photographs, and other ephemera chronicling the history of this literary and artistic society, founded on a love of book collecting, whose heyday was between 1885 and 1895. By enlisting Oscar Wilde as a guide through the “Odd Volumes” bookcase, the accompanying lecture traces intersections between the proceedings of this bibliophile club and Wilde’s aesthetic development during this period.