How the effeminate Oscar Wilde was likened to women in 1882.
During his lecture tour of America in 1882, Oscar Wilde was often described as effeminate.
It has often been thought that Oscar was acting the part of the effeminate; certainly, he was playing up to it: his dress and manner coinciding with the “namby-pamby” image of Bunthorne from Gilbert & Sullivan’s Patience that preceded him.
But, given our knowledge that Wilde continued to display the same effeminate sensitivities throughout his life, how much of his 1882 pose was an act?
Perhaps it is the case that rather than his being landed with an effeminate role, Wilde gravitated towards it.
Indeed, he portrayed his role so convincingly that, as we shall discover, the ever-anticipatory Wilde was conceptualized as female.
Continue reading Doubtful as Men
Next up in Philadelphia’s Oscar Wilde season is Mickle Street
Mickle Street is a new play about the famous OFOWW/WW meeting of 1882.
As it happens, the encounter between Wilde and Whitman took place not in Mickle Street, but at the home of Walt’s brother, George, in nearby Stevens Street, two years before Whitman purchased the house in Mickle Street that is now a house museum to his memory.
It matters not: the Mickle Street setting gives Walt his own domain and the historically accurate housekeeper integral to the piece. Besides, another reason for forgiving the choice of title is that Mickle Street is not even called Mickle Street any longer. Indeed, one might not be instantly lured into a literary tryst between two gay 19th century poets if Michael Whistler had succumbed to accuracy and called the play “Dr. Martin Luther King Boulevard”.
Continue reading Mickle Street: Preview