How to Use This Text

As explained in the introduction, the purpose of this text is twofold: to illustrate the relationship between the two published versions of the text and to allow the reader to read Shakespeare’s sonnets alongside the text.

To accomplish the first goal, I have used a system modeled after The Enfolded Hamlet, edited by Bernice W. Kliman. The text is marked as follows:

Text that appears in plain black type appears in both the 1889 and 1921 versions of “The Portrait of Mr. W.H.”.

<Text that appears in red and enclosed by triangular brackets appears in only the 1889 version.>

[Text that appears in green and enclosed by square brackets appears only in the 1921 version]

To achieve the second goal, I have relied on the Perseus Digital Library hosted by Tufts University and under the general editorship of Gregory R. Crane. Every time a reference to the sonnets appears in “The Portrait of Mr. W.H.” whether in a quotation, paraphrase, or reference to a particular sonnet title, the text will be linked to Perseus’s online version of the Sonnets edited by W.G. Clark and W. Aldis Wright. Links will be marked by the usual blue underlined text.

Of course, Wilde also makes reference to and quotes from several of Shakespeare’s plays and has quotations and references from several other authors as well. I hope to add links to these references in future editions of this work.

I welcome comments, corrections, and suggestions for improvements in future editions. Readers can leave public comments in the comments section of this page or contact me directly at

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