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the many faces of Oscar Wilde

Truth and Wit: The Many Faces of Oscar Wilde

New York: more than a century ago, an eccentrically dressed young Irishman on a lecture tour cast his image across the United States. The United States, being an obliging young nation in such matters, threw his image back to him in a form even larger and more colourful than the original.

Newspapers on both sides of the Atlantic made note, made fun and lionized, reporting every change of clothing and every quotable quote, whether he actually said it or not. and so was born the international legend known as Oscar Wilde, who, up till now, was merely a London poetaster of some social notoriety.

Wilde’s actual accomplishments, disregarding a brilliant undergraduate career at oxford, were scant at that point. “what has he done, this young man, that one meets him everywhere?” a polish actress had asked in London in 1882. in fairness, by 1882, the year Wilde made his American tour, he had published a volume of
highly perfumed poems and completed a rather embarrassing melodrama. But the reason he had been contracted to lecture had little to do with anything he had written.

Wilde’s actual accomplishments, disregarding a brilliant undergraduate career at oxford, were scant at that point. “what has he done, this young man, that one meets him everywhere?” a polish actress had asked in London in 1882. in fairness, by 1882, the year Wilde made his American tour, he had published a volume of highly perfumed poems and completed a rather embarrassing melodrama. But the reason he had been contracted to lecture had little to do with anything he had written.

It was that he was a personality… indeed, it was Richard D’Oyly Carte who engaged Wilde, thinking it might give the box office a boost. Besides, as an English journalist observed at the time, the

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the many faces of Oscar Wilde

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