On This Day

O’Flahertie Will Get You Nowhere

I recall learning the word polyonymous from this Word-a-Day web site—it means having many names. It resonates because I always suspected Oscar of being a confirmed and secret polyonymist, freely dispensing with at least three of his five birth names which he considered too much ballast for the heights he soared, and then changing his name altogether when he came back down to earth.

Such notions converged this week when I discovered what is, in effect, not a word of the day, but a “Wilde-of-the-Day” and which, moreover, is brought to us by someone who is himself a Celtic serial pseudomynist—a man known for a myriad of cryptic email addresses and by-lines.

On this occasion, he has adopted the guise of one Hugh Djarce, which, for those who know him, is hardly incognito. Others, not au fait with the craic will have to be content with his given identity as the CEO of Impeccable—”the bird-proof grass seed”.

While this position has no Wildean wings it seems to me to be an appropriate allusion given his chosen forum…

Twitter Feed

One of the surprisingly best-kept secrets in Wilde research is an archive of more than 150,000 entries that chronicle the daily activities of Oscar Wilde and his circle. It is a huge and valuable aggregate of biography, correspondence, and newspaper articles compiled over the last 25-30 years by a Dublin Wildean. To give you some idea of its length and breadth, there are up to a dozen entries for every day of Oscar Wilde’s life. The section I have (for the year 1882) is too large to be opened in full by word processing programs.

The author now recognizes the value of the database as a resource, and its publication may be imminent. But he is starting to sow the seeds: to-wit he is twittering.

The daily information will be disseminated on this Twitter page of posts tagged #owotdOscar Wilde On This Day.

Visit the page and click follow to receive updates as they happen.

Published by

John Cooper

John Cooper is a independent scholar who has spent 30 years in the study of Oscar Wilde. He is a long-standing member of the Oscar Wilde Society, a founding member of the Oscar Wilde Society of America, and a former manager of the Victorian Society In America. For the last 20 years Cooper has specialised in Wilde’s 1882 lecture tour becoming a consultant on Wilde’s American experience to biographers and the wider media. Cooper lectures on Wilde and has conducted new and unique research into Oscar Wilde visits to New York culminating in a guided walking tour. Online he is a popular blogger and the creator of the noncommercial archive 'Oscar Wilde in America’ which incorporates his work on the Sarony photographs, and a detailed documentary verification of Wilde’s American lecture tour. In 2012 Cooper rediscovered Wilde's essay The Philosophy Of Dress that forms the centerpiece to his book Oscar Wilde On Dress (2013).

One thought on “On This Day”

  1. I always smile when I see that, when it came to initials, Oscar outdid his brother Willie in Kottabos, a miscellany of Greek, Latin and English poetry they both contributed to as undergraduates and alumni of Trinity College Dublin. While Willie signed himself “W.C.K.W.”, Oscar was “O.F.O’F.W.W.”.

    Liked by 1 person

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