An Ideal Husband
Revised typescript of Act III, 24 January 1894; 24 leaves
Gift of Frederick R. Koch, 1981
Though he wrote his plays quickly, Wilde revised heavily. This early typescript of An Ideal Husband illustrates his working method: he would begin with an autograph draft, send it to a typist (in this case, "Mrs. Marshall's Type Writing" service), add further revisions, and call for a new typed copy. Still more adjustments would be made during rehearsal. By the late 1880s, the typewriter had been developed sufficiently to permit its widespread use. Wilde, Fanny Kemble, Mark Twain, and Henry James were among the first major authors to use typewritten texts as elements of composition.