On December 24, 1881, Oscar Wilde sailed for America from Liverpool aboard the S.S. Arizona bound for New York. The reasons for his much-heralded visit seemed clear enough: to promote Gilbert & Sullivan’s latest operetta, Patience, while conducting a series of lectures on subjects of his own choosing.
The ship arrived late on January 2, 1882, and lay at quarantine overnight. On the morning of January 3, the Arizona pulled into its dock, and passengers headed for the customs shed at Castle Garden, which was the point of entry for visitors to NewYork and a major receiving station for immigrants prior to the opening of Ellis Island some ten years later.
Continue reading Oscar Wilde’s Arrival in America
A cartoon depicting Oscar Wilde at the end of his visit to America in 1882 in contrasting poses.
Oscar Wilde’s American visits resulted in mixed fortunes: he failed to make any literary advance, and although his tour met with a mixed reception critically, it was a great commercial success. We can see these fortunes reflected in the Judge cartoon.
On the left, recognizing the commercial success of his lecture tour, Oscar is shown surrounded by lilies and sunflowers (the floral emblems of the aesthetic movement), and showered with gold. On the right we see him somewhat shabbier, and with his bags packed at Castle Garden, the receiving station at New York: under his arm is Vera, the play Wilde brought with him and for which he struggled to find interest. The play was eventually staged in New York in August 1883 but was a withdrawn after a week.
Continue reading Not A Joy Forever
OSCAR WILDE ON DRESS | LIMITED EDITION
Limited Bibliophile Edition | Ebook
It is rare that an important contribution by a major author goes unrecorded. Rarer still if the author is Oscar Wilde, the famous poet, writer, dramatist, and much quoted wit, who has been the subject of continual interest and analysis since his death in 1900. But such has been the fate of his 1885 essay The Philosophy Of Dress.
This work now forms the centerpiece of a unique collection of Wilde’s writings on dress and fashion. In the book, in addition to the essay, there are generously annotated and illustrated chapters that analyze the importance of dress to Wilde’s writing career, and a comprehensive review of the influences, trends, characters, and source material that informed his dress philosophy. As a compendium this book includes several period articles and letters by Wilde on dress and fashion, along with related, but rarely published, correspondence.
This first printing of the First Edition is limited to 100 copies and is expected to sell out on general release.
You can order now by visiting the following the link below:
For more and ebook see:
I was consulted—in an extremely minor way—for this piece on NBC.
Bravo to MSNBC and UK politician David Lammy who takes up Oscar’s courtroom justification.
To accompany the world premiere of the Morrison/Cox opera Oscar in Santa Fe, NM, this adapted excerpt from my book Oscar Wilde On Dress appeared in the Santa Fe New Mexican’s arts magazine Pasatiempo.
For more on Wilde and dress see:
Review of the conference: Who Owns The Legacy of Oscar Wilde?
Wilde Conference at Drew University, June 1-2, 2012
by John Cooper
So it was to Drew University (Madison, NJ) hopeful of enlightenment as to the nominal question posed by the conference.
To the question of who owns the legacy of an author in the public domain the answer is usually nobody. However, this conference was a reminder, should it be needed, that in the sphere of Wilde studies nobody often translates into anybody willing to marry the subject, for better or worse, to their own vision of Wilde. This is not surprising given Wilde’s dualities of nationality, gender and style, and over the years writers have enjoyed an open season and taken careful aim at their subject, giving us some quite specific visions of Oscar.
At least in a forum such as the subject becomes a moving target. So we had varied questions, not only of the Irish Wilde and the gay Wilde, as might be expected, but also an array of topics ranging from thesis to the practical; subjects from Wilde’s reputation as a classicist to the ownership of his work and imagery.
Continue reading Conference: Legacy of Oscar Wilde
Oscar Wilde In America | An Online Resource
By John Cooper
This is the blog of the non-commercial archive devoted to Oscar Wilde and his time in America, online at:
The web site includes:
- Oscar Wilde’s 1882 Lecture Tour of North America
- A Detailed Analysis of American Quotations
- The Sarony Photographs of Oscar Wilde
- Oscar Wilde’s New York Arrival
and much more…
A main focus of the web site is to verified the itinerary of the 1882 Lecture Tour, the detail of which presents considerable challenges and is necessarily an evolving project. Please provide any information you can to verify tour dates, venues, subjects or other details. I intend the site to be definitive and use only primary sources, and of course all contributions will be credited on the site.