When we think of the name Douglas in connection with Oscar Wilde we usually have in mind Oscar’s golden lover-Boy of that ilk—we do not necessarily conjure up visions of the rugged American screen legend, Kirk Douglas.
But today there are two reasons why we should.
First, it is actor Kirk‘s 100th birthday; so congratulations to him.
Second, we need to turn to Kirk because our theme is self-sacrifice, and it’s difficult to imagine the lordly Alfred, that over-privileged lily of lilies, in that role never mind imagining him as an enslaved gladiator—which we need to do as therein lies our story.
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Oscar, the opera in Philadelphia
The last time Oscar Wilde visited Philadelphia it was to promote an opera. That was during his lecture tour of America in 1882 when a required part of his raison d’être was to be the poster-boy for Gilbert & Sullivan’s latest offering Patience—a comic opera whose purpose was to ridicule the adherents of the Aesthetic Movement. Not that it mattered to Oscar Wilde that he was the movement’s leading representative and the person most closely identified with the ridicule. He always knew he would outlive the mob mentality, and it is an ironic measure of the wisdom of Wilde’s indifference that he has now triumphantly returned to Philadelphia as the subject of an opera himself. The question is: if Oscar the man was indifferent to Patience, would he have had any patience for Oscar the opera?
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