SOLOMON, Simeon (1840-1905)
A Vision of Love Revealed in Sleep
London: Printed for the Author, 1871. Small quarto. , 37, pp. With albumen print frontispiece by F. Hollyer of a drawing by Solomon.
Publisher's blue pictorial cloth gilt. Joints neatly repaired.
Provenance: Thomas Trigg (early signature)
The privately-printed first edition of Simeon Solomon's landmark work of gay literature: "Then I knew my Soul stood before me, and he and I went forth together ..."
The privately-printed first edition of Pre-Raphaelite painter Simeon Solomon's prose poem, "an attempt to write about desire and sexuality using concepts from Jewish and Christian mystical writings and classical mythology... [in which] some twenty years before the trials of Oscar Wilde, he dared to express in art his own sexual preferences, however obliquely" (ODNB). The text tells of the journey of a narrator and his soul through a nocturnal landscape where they experience visions of various states and conditions of love until they meet the figure of Sacramentum Amoris bearing the 'Very Love' in a crystal vessel. Two years after the publication, Solomon was arrested in a public lavatory for indecent behaviour, and his public career as an artist was ruined.