Missionary Proposition

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A previously unpublished autograph letter by Oscar Wilde appeared at auction last week in North Carolina.

The item is a note sent by Wilde to Anne Lynch Botta, the 19th century doyenne of New York literary society, in which he expresses regret at not being able to attend a reception owing to his impending departure for Canada.

Aided by the letter’s evident authenticity and the fact that the consignor is a direct family descendant, it sold at auction for $5,500.

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King’s Ransome

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PHILADELPHIA LIBRARY ACQUIRES RARE TYPESCRIPT OF UNPUBLISHED PORTIONS OF WILDE’S “DE PROFUNDIS”

On a balmy Sunday lunchtime last Spring I found myself in the refreshment area of the prestigious New York Antiquarian Book Fair. The ambience and the food were very pleasant, perhaps suspiciously so, which I should have seen as a portent for what I was about to discover had I not been obliviously fitting in.

My café table had an inlaid chessboard and the kindly stranger opposite made the first move. “Are you a dealer or a collector?” he asked, with an air of inevitability that suggested a third alternative had not previously existed. As I was that third alternative I countered with the department store defense: “I’m just browsing,” I said vaguely. It was a gambit designed to replace the probability of being neither with the possibility of being either.

However, it soon became apparent to me, if not to my new friend, that even the rank of ‘browser‘ had wildly overstated my standing.

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Richard Le Gallienne

Richard Le Gallienne (Alfred Ellis)

Richard Le Gallienne is the subject of an exhibition in his home town of Liverpool to mark the 150th anniversary of his birth. The event is being curated by two stalwart supporters of late-Victorian authors and artists, Mark Samuels Lasner and Margaret D. Stetz—authors and artists themselves.

In conjunction with the exhibition, Liverpool Central Library will bring together these and other scholars and collectors from the UK and the US for a one-day symposium about the city as a literary and cultural centre at the end of the 19th century.

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The Judas Kiss

Tom Colley, Charlie Rowe and Rupert Everett in The Judas Kiss. Photo: Cylla von Tiedemann
Tom Colley, Charlie Rowe and Rupert Everett in The Judas Kiss. Photo: Cylla von Tiedemann
Announcement

Join us at the Brooklyn Academy of Music for The Judas Kiss
May 11—Jun 12, 2016

Are you in New York this month?

Why not join the Philadelphia Wildeans who are planning a visit to the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), to see The Judas Kiss, the play starring an acclaimed performance by Rupert Everett as Oscar Wilde.

To get a flavor of the piece visit the BAM blog starting with my guest article here.

We are hoping that all Wildeans can join us to make an occasion of it.

To express interest and availability please email me in the first instance as I am arranging the date, and a possible a group rate and shared transportation.

John Cooper
info@oscarwildeinamerica.org

A Moment of Gravity

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You will recall that in my recent review of Wilde and Niagara I cited the entry that Oscar Wilde’s had made in the guestbook of his hotel on the Canadian side at Niagara Falls.

Well, having visited the area myself, I now have an illustration of his inscription (above) and, to reiterate, this is what it says:

the roar of these waters is like the roar when the “mighty wave democracy breaks against the shores where kings lie couched at ease.”

When Oscar wrote this he was doing several things at once.

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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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Literate and Illiterate

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Los Angeles Herald, May 23, 1883