For this edition, I have chosen as my copy-texts to use the thirteen-chapter, 1890 edition originally published in Lippincott’s Magazine, which I accessed as a PDF through the Simon Fraser University library, as well as Joseph Bristow’s edition of the 1891 text from the third volume of Oxford University Press’s collection titled The Complete Works of Oscar Wilde. Bristow based his edition off of “the foolscap quarto edition (also referred to as the large-paper edition), which appeared in a limited print-run of 250 copies” (Bristow lxi). Bristow admits to making some silent corrections to small errors found in that edition, which he notes in his textual notes. Luckily, none of these silent emendations fall into either of the two excerpts with which I am dealing. However, Bristow also admits that his edition of 1891 is a “collation of manuscripts, a typescript, annotated sheets from an unbound offprint, and printed versions with textual authority,” so it is thus difficult to note how much of the text of my edition is accurate to the first edition of The Picture of Dorian Gray printed in 1891, and how much is pieced together and revised by Bristow from other editions. However, although it would have been preferable to use a first edition—or a fascsimile—of the 1891 text for this edition, Bristow’s edition was the best one to which I had access.
As mentioned in my Introduction, in my annotations I have carefully compiled all of the changes and differences between the 1890 and 1891 texts. However, for the most part, I have ignored differences of punctuation, though there are few. One of the main difference between the two texts—which I do not note in my annotations—is the way that dashes are used; in the 1890 text, a dash is often preceded by a comma (“,—”), whereas the 1891 removes these commas and shows dashes alone as is more commonly used in modern texts. Although I have annotated examples of misspelling and differing spellings between the two texts, I do not annotate the differences between the American spellings of the 1890 text and the British spellings of the 1891. With regards to this rule, I have included instances the difference between the use of “will” and “shall,” as the 1890 consistently uses the former, while the 1891 consistently uses the latter. This also includes one example where 1890 uses “won’t” and 1819 “sha’n’t.” Finally, throughout Chapter VII of the 1890 text, Wilde uses “Hallward” to talk about Basil Hallward in many places, where in the equivalent chapter in the 1891 text (Chapter IX) Wilde frequently uses “the painter.” I have noted the first such difference in my annotations—as it seems to be a very important revision that Wilde made to the 1891 text as it clearly attempts to dehumanize Basil and emphasize his role as a painter—but have chosen to exclude all following such variations in the interest of saving space, as well as out of a desire to avoid excessive repetitiveness.
As for changes to the text, I have done my best to transcribe both texts as faithfully as possible, and any differences between the copy-texts and my edition are purely accidental. I wanted this edition to present the original texts as purely as possible, though that has been less possible with regards to the 1891 text, since it was worked on not only by Wilde and his editors, but also by Bristow. Since my aim was a pure representation of the original texts, I have also preserved any and all misspellings, outdated spellings, punctuation, capitalizations, etc.