Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Making Oscar Wilde

During Oscar Wilde's 1882 American tour, he encountered prejudice...for being Irish. From The Guardian:
In January 1882, Oscar Wilde, an ambitious and highly educated young man with one terrible book of poems and a pretty much unstageable tragedy to his name, landed in America for a 50-date lecture tour. Sponsored by Richard D’Oyly Carte, whose production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s comic opera Patience was shortly to embark on a similarly long journey across the US, it would take in not only the smartest universities, but the midwest and the deep south, too: Americans everywhere would have the chance to see a real-life fop ahead of the production’s spirited send-up of the species (the opera ridiculed the cult of aestheticism with which Wilde was strongly associated). “Anything is better than virtuous obscurity,” Wilde noted on accepting this unlikely gig. Anything? It wouldn’t be long before he had cause to regret these words, their aphoristic pith now a good deal less comforting than the bulky sealskin coat that was his constant companion on the road. (Read more.)

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