On this day in 1899, Oscar Wilde, in a letter to Canadian journalist Robert Ross, believed to have been his first male lover, writes: “Henry James is developing, but he will never arrive at passion, I fear.”

Ross, who came from a prominent Canadian political family, was Wilde’s most loyal friend and the literary executor of his estate. He made sure after Wilde’s death in 1900 to ensure the poet/playwright’s two sons were financially secure, receiving all the royalties from his works.

Ross commissioned the tomb for Wilde at the Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris, asking for a small pocket to the side where his own ashes could be buried next to Wilde’s.

News articles reported last month that Wilde’s grave will now be shielded with a glass enclosure to stop women from smearing it with their lipstick.


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