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    Sir John Betjeman’s handwritten draft. (Click on image to enlarge).  UPDATE: THI SOLD FOR £7,500

    Sir John Betjeman’s handwritten draft of one of his best known poems, ‘The Arrest of Oscar Wilde at the Cadogan Hotel’ will be sold by Bonhams in London on April 10. The only manuscript of the poem ever to at auction is estimated at £5,000-6,000. It will be offered in Part I of the collection of poet and scholar Roy Davids.
    Betjeman wrote the draft in 1932 or early 1933 on the headed notepaper of The Architectural Review. He worked there as assistant editor from 1930-1935. It was published in the June 1933 edition of the Oxford and Cambridge magazine. Over the intervening years has become one of his most celebrated and quoted works. Novelist and biographer A.N. Wilson described it as giving ‘a stronger sense of Wilde than many of the weighty biographies.’
    The work contrasts the languid, fatalistic resignation of the doomed artist playing out his role to the end with the semi-comic, down-to-earth practicality of the arresting policemen:

    “Mr Woilde, we ‘ave come for to take yew
    Where felons and criminals dwell,
    We must hask yew to leave with us quoitly
    For this is the Cadogan Hotel.”…

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