St. Patrick’s Day 1882

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“A PRIDE I CANNOT PROPERLY ACKNOWLEDGE”


On St. Patrick’s Day 1882, during his lecture tour of north America, Oscar Wilde happened to be in St. Paul, Minnesota.

He had lectured the previous evening at the Opera House on The Decorative Arts, and, on the following evening, he returned to the same venue to attended a St.Patrick’s Day gathering. St. Paul was a city with a large Irish population and the event was one of several held that day to observe the occasion.

Despite inclement weather, the Opera House was full for a series of addresses on an Irish theme interspersed with vocal and instrumental selections. Towards the end of proceedings, Wilde was called upon to say a few impromptu words.

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Niagara Falls

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Next month I go to speak at the Oscar Wilde conference “Wilde on the Borders” at Niagara University in Niagara Falls, N.Y.

Whenever I travel to give a talk on Wilde, especially to places such as in New York City, Brooklyn, or Philadelphia, where Wilde also lectured, I always feel that I am following in his footsteps. After all, we share the same mission: that of promoting Oscar Wilde.

Going With The Flow

It is the now the turn of Niagara Falls, and, although Wilde did not speak publicly there (he lectured in nearby in Buffalo, New York), he did take a sojourn from his tour to visit Niagara and play tourist for a couple of days.

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Wilde on the Borders

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Wilde Event | Niagara University

Wilde on the Borders: Symposium, Theatre, and Art
April 2, 2016, Niagara University, N.Y.

Located just four miles north of Niagara Falls, N.Y., along the U.S./Canadian border, Niagara University announces “Wilde on the Borders”, a day of lively academic discussions hosted by the English department which celebrates Wilde’s complexity through the forms he expressed: essays, theatre and art.

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Literate and Illiterate

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Los Angeles Herald, May 23, 1883

Three Times Tried

The above appraisal is from a recent edition of the U.S. version of Antiques Roadshow, and features a manuscript sonnet by Oscar Wilde which has recently come to light.

It is not, however, a new poem; it is one from the Wilde canon which he retitled as Ideal Love and presented with a dedication to an acquaintance named Christian Gauss, a young American journalist.

It reads:

The sin was mine; I did not understand.
So now is music prisoned in her cave,
Save where some ebbing desultory wave
Frets with its restless whirls this meagre strand.
And in the withered hollow of this land
Hath Summer dug herself so deep a grave,
That hardly can the silver [1] willow crave
One little [1] blossom from keen Winter’s hand.

But who is this who cometh by the shore?
(Nay, love, look up and wonder!) Who is this
Who cometh in dyed garments from the South?
It is thy new-found Lord, and he shall kiss
The yet unravished roses of thy mouth,
And I shall weep and worship, as before.

As the poem has homoerotic overtones it is of interest for that reason alone as a curiosity. However, I wonder if curiosity can be stretched to significance?

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