A Rediscovered Photograph of Oscar Wilde
In my last article I alluded to how that erstwhile sinner, Oscar Wilde, had achieved the exalted air of sainthood. Unfortunately, for collectors of Wildean memories, 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 the artifact scale of hardness-to-find, the rarest commodities are gold dust, hen’s teeth, and, finally, previously unseen photographs of Oscar Wilde.
At least that was the case until earlier this year when this late in Wilde’s long posthumous existence (what the American Indian appropriately dubbed the happy hunting ground), unearthed a little-known, and even less seen, image of Oscar. That photo has now ascended to the canonical next life as Sarony 3A. For Wildeans, that one discovery alone would be normally be rapture enough. However, now another rare photograph has appeared from the digital clouds.
It is worthy of investigation.
Continue reading Rediscovered
The Digital Collection of Oscar Wilde Documents at The Philadelphia Free Library
Readers will recall my visit to the New York Antiquarian Book Fair a couple of years ago where I was offered a very rare Oscar Wilde document.
It was a typescript of the (originally) unpublished portions of Wilde’s passive-aggressive prison masterpiece De Profundis.
It was prepared by Wilde’s literary executor, Robert Ross, for use in the 1913 trial when Lord Alfred Douglas (Oscar’s lover Bosie) sued a young Arthur Ransome for having the temerity to imply that a person he didn’t name just might have had a hand in Wilde’s downfall.
Not My Type
I politely declined to purchase the typescript, thinking it belonged much more appropriately within the hands (and budgetary means) of a public institution where visitors could see it.
Now, thanks to the power of the digital medium, everybody can see it.
Continue reading Philadelphia Freedom
Declaring nothing apropos (except astonishment) I send from America footage I recently discovered of Oscar Wilde’s son Vyvyan Holland.
It is in the form of a TV interview alongside Brian Reade, curator at the Victoria and Albert Museum, during a segment on the CBS TV arts program Camera Three about a V&A Aubrey Beardsley exhibition which had transferred to New York’s (then-named) Gallery of Modern Art.
The rare TV showing was a opportunity for Vyvyan to rival his more media savvy wife, Dorothy, who had made her latest appearance on American TV earlier in the month discussing fashion on the ABC show Girl Talk.
It provides a chance to see Vyvyan’s unassuming manner as he reveals personal experiences such as shooting moose and witnessing a bedridden bearded Beardsley.
Continue reading Vyvyan Holland
In a recent post I ranted somewhat about the use of primary sources.
Well sources don’t come any more primary than the recent discoveries of Wildeana that were made at the Free Library of Philadelphia prior to the Oscar Wilde season early this year.
Continue reading Salomé