Rediscovered

Restored by John Cooper © 2020

A Rediscovered Photograph of Oscar Wilde

In my last article I alluded to how the erstwhile sinner, Oscar Wilde, had achieved the exalted air of sainthood. Unfortunately for collectors, with that classification comes the cliché that a good man is hard to find.

And nowhere is that maxim manifested more in Oscar Wilde’s case than in the promised land of lost pictures. On a scale of hardness-to-find, the rarest commodities are gold dust, hen’s teeth, and unseen photographs of Oscar Wilde.

At least that was the case until earlier this year when the happy hunting ground unearthed a little-known, and even less seen, image of Oscar which has now ascended to the canonical next life as Sarony 3A.

For Wildeans, that one discovery would be normally be rapture enough—however, another rare photograph has now seen the light.

It is worthy of investigation.

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Bridgeton, NJ


—ANOTHER DISCOVERED LECTURE—

In verifying Oscar Wilde’s tour of America, one occasionally come across previously unrecorded lectures, such as the ones at the seaside resort of Narragansett Pier, RI, a second talk given by Wilde in Saratoga Springs, and another he gave for the YMCA in Yorkville, New York City [1].

This last lecture in New York redefined what biographers thought had been Wilde’s final lecture in North America at St. John, in New Brunswick, Canada.

Now another lecture has emerged which also post-dates Wilde final Canada visit.

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Narragansett Pier

Mathewson

—A Newly Discovered Lecture—

In verifying Oscar Wilde’s 1882 lecture tour of North America, it was prudent to begin with the four published itineraries by Mikhail, Ellmann, Page, and Beckson. [1]

Unfortunately, none of these chronologies agrees with any other, and each is either incomplete or wrong in various respects—so it has been necessary to make numerous additions and corrections to dates, locations and lecture titles. [2]

It is a pleasing break to the routine when one discovers something new, such as a previously unrecorded event. Or, rarer still, a previously unknown lecture, as was the case with the redefining of Wilde’s final stop of the tour in New York on November 27, 1882.

Now another new lecture has emerged: it is an appearance by Wilde at Narragansett Pier.

Where is Narragansett Pier?—you might ask.

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The Last Four

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The Sarony Photographs

It has long been assumed that all of the 1882 photographs of Oscar Wilde by Napoleon Sarony were taken during the same visit to his studio. Indeed, in all of Wilde studies there does not appear to be any record of an assertion to the contrary.

However, there is a convincing case to be made that the LAST FOUR photographs were taken at a later date.

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