• Publication Date: March 4, 2015
  • ISBN: 9781554811892 / 1554811899
  • 160 pages; 5½" x 8½"

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  • Publication Date: March 4, 2015
  • ISBN: 9781554811892 / 1554811899
  • 160 pages; 5½" x 8½"

Salome is Oscar Wilde’s most experimental—and controversial—play. In its own time, the play, written in French, was described by a reviewer as “an arrangement in blood and ferocity, morbid, bizarre, repulsive.” None, however, could deny the importance of Wilde’s creation. Contemporary audiences and reviewers variously regarded Salome as the symbol of a thrilling modernity, a challenge to patriarchy, a confession of desire, a sign of moral decay, a new form of art, and a revolt against the restraints of Victorian society. Less well known than Wilde’s beloved comedies, Salome is as enduringly modern and relevant.

This edition uses the English translation done by Wilde’s lover, Lord Alfred Douglas, and overseen and corrected by Wilde himself. Appendices detail the play’s sources and provide extensive materials on its contemporary reception and dramatic productions.

For an excerpt from the appendices of Salome, please see our blog post: Costume Design for Salome: Everyone in Yellow.


Salome illuminated! This edition presents Salome as a formally complex, richly intertextual, and generative phenomenon of international modernism. Kimberly Stern sets a superbly annotated text between an extensive introduction and several appendices documenting the play’s literary, cultural, and visual sources, its reception, and its translation, illustration, and performance histories. The edition offers copious source materials to augment the text, some requisite and some unexpected. Stern’s adept and unprecedented selection of contextual sources enhances the powerful and recurrent fascination of a play that has continuously spawned adaptations as well as controversy. This is where all students of Salome should start.” — Heidi Hartwig, Central Connecticut State University

Oscar Wilde: A Brief Chronology
A Note on the Text


Appendix A: Sources

  1. Matthew 14:1-12, The Bible: Authorized King James Version
    with Apocrypha
  2. “Descent of the Goddess Ishtar into the Lower World,”
    The Sacred Books and Early Literature of the East (1917)
  3. From Heinrich Heine, Atta Troll (1843)
  4. From J.C. Heywood, Herodias: A Dramatic Poem (1867)
  5. From Oscar Wilde, “Review of J.C. Heywood’s Salome,”
    Pall Mall Gazette (15 February 1888)
  6. From Stéphane Mallarmé, “La scéne: Nourrice—Hérodiade”
  7. From Gustave Flaubert, “Hérodias” (1877)
  8. William Wilde, “Salome” (1878)
  9. From Joris-Karl Huysmans, Á Rebours (1884)
  10. From Maurice Maeterlinck, La Princesse Maleine (1889)

Appendix B: A Visual History

  1. Gustave Moreau, “The Apparition” (1876)
  2. Aubrey Beardsley, Design for the Title Page to the English Edition of Salome (1894)
  3. Aubrey Beardsley, Final Design for the Title Page (1894)
  4. Aubrey Beardsley, “The Woman in the Moon” (1894)
  5. Aubrey Beardsley, “The Climax” (1894)

Appendix C: Contemporary Responses

  1. From Edgar Saltus, Oscar Wilde: An Idler’s Impression (1917)
  2. Pierre Louÿs, “Salomé: à Oscar W.” (30 June 1892)
  3. Letter from Oscar Wilde to Richard Le Gallienne (22/23 February 1893)
  4. From a Letter from Bernard Shaw to Oscar Wilde (28 February 1893)
  5. From a Letter from Max Beerbohm to Reginald Turner (February 1893)
  6. From “Salomé,” The Times (23 February 1893)
  7. From a Review of Salomé, Pall Mall Gazette (27 February 1893)
  8. Letter from Stéphane Mallarmé to Oscar Wilde (March 1893)
  9. From William Archer, “Mr. Oscar Wilde’s New Play,”Black and White (11 May 1893)
  10. From Lord Alfred Douglas, “Salomé: A Critical Overview,” The Spirit Lamp (1893)

Appendix D: Translation History

  1. Letter from Lord Alfred Douglas to John Lane (30 September 1893)
  2. From a Letter from Lord Alfred Douglas to John Lane (16 November 1893)
  3. From a Letter from Oscar Wilde to Lord Alfred Douglas (January-March 1897)
  4. From a Letter from Robert Ross to Frank Harris (undated)
  5. From Lord Alfred Douglas, Autobiography (1929)
  6. Translation Chart

Appendix E: Performance History

  1. From Charles Ricketts, Self-Portrait (1939)
  2. From Graham Robertson, Time Was (1931)
  3. Photograph of Sarah Bernhardt in Costume as Salome (1891)
  4. From a Letter from Oscar Wilde to William Rothenstein (July 1892)
  5. “Mr. Oscar Wilde on Salome,” The Times (2 March 1893)
  6. From Oscar Wilde, “The Censure and Salome,” Pall Mall Budget (30 June 1892)
  7. Bernard Partridge, “A Wilde Idea,” Punch Magazine (9 July 1892)
  8. From a Letter from Max Beerbohm to Reginald Turner (June 1892)
  9. Oscar Wilde, “Plan de la scene” (1891)
  10. From M.J. du Tillet, “Théâtres” [review of the Paris premiere of Salome],
    Revue bleue politique et littéraire (1896)
  11. From Jean de Tinan, “Théâtre de l’oeuvre: Salomé” [review of the Paris premiere], Mercure de France (March 1896)
  12. From “Salome,” The Saturday Review (13 May 1905)
  13. Photograph of Alice Guszalewicz in Costume as Salome (c. 1910)
  14. “The Cult of the Clitoris,” The Vigilante (16 February 1918)
  15. From the Verbatim Report of the Trial of Noel Pemberton Billington, MP, on a Charge of Criminal Libel (1918)

Select Bibliography

Kimberly J. Stern is Assistant Professor of English at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.