Thursday, February 11, 2010


If thou hadst looked at me thou hadst loved me. Well I know that thou wouldst have loved me, and the mystery of love is greater than the mystery of death.
- Salome, Oscar Wilde

On this day in 1896, Oscar Wilde's play, Salome, opened in Paris. The play tells, in one act, the Biblical story of Salome, stepdaughter of the tetrarch Herod Antipas, who, to her stepfather's dismay but to the delight of her mother Herodias, requests the head of Jokanaan (John the Baptist) on a silver platter as a reward for dancing the Dance of the Seven Veils.
The 1892 London premiere, which planned to have Sarah Bernhardt in the title role, was banned by the censors while in preparation. (When asked “How will you do the dance of the seven veils?” Bernhardt had replied, “Never you mind.”) In prison at the time of the Paris premiere, Wilde never saw his play performed before he died in 1900. The play remained banned in England until 1931.

The Plays of Oscar Wilde. Vintage Books, New York. 1988

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