Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
Oscar Wilde in America

Oscar Wilde in America: The Interviews

Matthew Hofer
Gary Scharnhorst
Copyright Date: 2010
Pages: 208
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5406/j.ctt3fh3r2
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Oscar Wilde in America
    Book Description:

    This comprehensive and authoritative collection of Oscar Wilde's American interviews affords readers a fresh look at the making of a literary legend. Better known in 1882 as a cultural icon than a serious writer (at twenty-six years old, he had by then published just one volume of poems), Wilde was brought to North America for a major lecture tour on Aestheticism and the decorative arts that was organized to publicize a touring opera, Gilbert and Sullivan's Patience, which lampooned him and satirized the Aesthetic movement he had been imported to represent. In this year-long series of broadly distributed and eagerly read newspaper interviews, Wilde excelled as a master of self-promotion. He visited major cities from New York to San Francisco but also small railroad towns along the way, granting interviews to newspapers wherever asked. With characteristic aplomb, he adopted the role as the ambassador of Aestheticism, and reporters noted that he was dressed for the part. He wooed and flattered his hosts everywhere, pronouncing Miss Alsatia Allen of Montgomery, Alabama, the most beautiful young lady he had seen in the United States, adding, This is a remark, my dear fellow, I supposed I have made of some lady in every city I have visited in this country. It could be appropriately made. American women are very beautiful. Confronted at every turn by an insatiable audience of sometimes hostile interviewers, the young poet tried out a number of phrases, ideas, and strategies that ultimately made him famous as a novelist and playwright. Seeing America and Americans for the first time, Wilde's perception often proved as sharp as his wit; the echoes of both resound in much of his later writings. His interviewers also succeeded in getting him to talk about many other topics, from his opinions of British and American writers (he thought Poe was America's greatest poet) to his views of Mormonism. This exceptional volume cites all ninety-one of Wilde's interviews and contains transcripts of forty-eight of them, and it also includes his lecture on his travels in America.

    eISBN: 978-0-252-09288-6
    Subjects: History, Sociology, Language & Literature

Table of Contents

Export Selected Citations Export to NoodleTools Export to RefWorks Export to EasyBib Export a RIS file (For EndNote, ProCite, Reference Manager, Zotero, Mendeley...) Export a Text file (For BibTex)
  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-x)
  3. PREFACE
    (pp. xi-xii)
  4. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 1-10)

    “Interviewers are a product of American civilization, whose acquaintance I am making with tolerable speed,” the twenty-seven-year-old Oscar Wilde told an interviewer for the Boston Globe on 28 January 1882. “You gentlemen have fairly monopolized me ever since I saw Sandy Hook. In New York there were about a hundred a day… . But then,” he added, lest he seem unwilling to talk, “I am always glad to see you.” As he later explained, “We have no interviewing in England.”

    Celebrity interviews began to appear in American newspapers in the early 1870s, and traveling lecturers were a convenient source of...

  5. INTERVIEWS

    • 1. “OSCAR WILDE’S ARRIVAL,” NEW YORK WORLD, 3 JANUARY 1882, 1
      (pp. 13-15)

      Oscar Wilde, the great English exponent of aestheticism, reached this port last evening on board the Williams and Guion steamship Arizona. Shortly after the vessel came to anchor off the Quarantine Station on Staten Island a World reporter put off in a rowboat managed by two sturdy oarsmen, and although the steamship was not much over a quarter of a mile from the shore it was three-quarters of an hour before he stepped upon the deck of the Arizona. Prior to undertaking the mission he had consulted Worcester,¹ according to whom aesthetics (the good old man gives no such word...

    • 2. “OSCAR WILDE,” NEW YORK EVENING POST, 4 JANUARY 1882, 4; EXCERPTED IN “THE CHIEF YEARNER,” BOSTON GLOBE, 4 JANUARY 1882, 4
      (pp. 15-17)

      Mr. Oscar Wilde stood on the pier of the Williams and Guion steamship line at 11 o’clock this morning when a reporter of the Evening Post pushed through the crowd of admirers who surrounded him and asked the poet of the aesthetes what he understood by aestheticism. “I have defined it about two hundred times since last night,” answered Mr. Wilde, with a patient smile, “but I am here to diffuse beauty, and I have no objection to saying that—I say, porter, handle that box more carefully, will you?” This was said to a hotel porter who had seized...

    • 3. “OUR NEW YORK LETTER,” PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 4 JANUARY 1882, 7
      (pp. 17-18)

      Oscar Wilde, the young English poet and apostle of aestheticism, reached this city this morning. He came in the Arizona, which arrived last night but anchored off quarantine until this morning. Mr. Wilde is a smooth-faced young man, twenty-six years of age and six feet, four inches, in height. His hair is long, his face is large and flat, and he dresses in an aesthetic costume, of which the most conspicuous parts this morning were a long bottle-green overcoat trimmed with fur, a sky-blue necktie, yellow kid gloves, patent leather boots, and a sealskin cap several sizes too small for...

    • 4. “THE THEORIES OF A POET,” NEW YORK TRIBUNE, 8 JANUARY 1882, 7
      (pp. 19-22)

      Oscar Wilde, the poet and apostle of aestheticism, is at present living in a private house so that he may secure the quiet and freedom from interruption which his work demands. He occupies two rooms furnished in matter-of-fact style, and has his meals sent in from a neighboring restaurant. The center table of his parlor yesterday was covered with letters and invitations of all kinds and a few books. The poet himself had on a brown dressing gown with red cuffs and brown trousers with red silk cord along the sides. His shoes were patent leather, with red silk stockings....

    • 5. “THE SCIENCE OF THE BEAUTIFUL,” NEW YORK WORLD, 8 JANUARY 1882, 2
      (pp. 22-25)

      Mr. Oscar Wilde was visited by a World reporter yesterday morning in his new home in Twenty-eighth Street. He was seated before a writing table which was covered with invitations. He was dressed in a simple black velvet jacket, below which he wore a pair of beautiful brown trousers, from the bottoms of which his patent-leather pumps were seen covering a very shapely pair of feet. His cravat was of a light olive green, brown and green being apparently his favorite colors. Being asked to explain his peculiar theory Mr. Wilde said: “My theory is that you cannot teach anybody...

    • 6. “A TALK WITH WILDE,” PHILADELPHIA PRESS, 17 JANUARY 1882, 2
      (pp. 25-31)

      As a Pennsylvania ferryboat swung into her slip at Jersey City at a few minutes before one o’clock yesterday afternoon, the crowd scattered about the dock explained in subdued tones: “There he is; see him, that’s Oscar Wilde.” The tall figure of the apostle of Aestheticism, clad in his olive-green overcoat with its otter trimmings, and with his large face brightened by a smile and framed in long brown locks, blown about by the wind, was a conspicuous figure as he stood in the very front of the crowd of passengers pressing against the gunwales of the boat. He had...

    • 7. “THE AESTHETIC BARD,” PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 17 JANUARY 1882, 2
      (pp. 31-33)

      Mr. Oscar Wilde, the English aesthetic poet, arrived at the Aldine Hotel yesterday afternoon about four o’clock and proceeded at once to his rooms, where he passed the afternoon in seclusion. He had been very busy during the morning in New York and, with that and his journey to this city and the trying two hours of lionization before him in the evening, felt the need of rest.

      Toward six o’clock, however, he consented to receive a representative of the Inquirer, to whom he extended a welcome with the graceful courtesy which is always characteristic of true breeding. Whatever may...

    • 8. “WHAT OSCAR HAS TO SAY,” BALTIMORE AMERICAN, 20 JANUARY 1882, 4
      (pp. 34-35)

      Washington, January 20.—It having been rumored that the reason why Mr. Oscar Wilde passed through Baltimore today en route to Washington, without stopping in that city, was owing to some disagreement with Mr. Archibald Forbes,¹ the English war correspondent, who is at present in Baltimore. The correspondent of The American called upon Mr. Wilde at the Arlington Hotel this evening. He at first refused to be seen, and had denied admittance to several newspaper men, but a note from your correspondent proved effective. Before reaching the door a number of young ladies were seen hurrying in the direction of...

    • 9. “WILDE AND FORBES,” NEW YORK HERALD, 21 JANUARY 1882, 3
      (pp. 35-38)

      Some of the Baltimore papers today charge Mr. Oscar Wilde with having broken faith with the Baltimore public in not appearing according to advertisement on the stage when Mr. Archibald Forbes lectured in that city last evening. A graver charge is that he had snubbed Baltimore society by rudely neglecting to appear at a reception arranged for his entertainment last evening at the residence of Mrs. Charles Carroll, of that city,¹ a disappointment which it is asserted caused the hostess much embarrassment. Another count in the Baltimore indictment against Mr. Wilde is that the Wednesday Club of Baltimore invited him...

    • 10. “AN INTERVIEW WITH THE POET,” ALBANY ARGUS, 28 JANUARY 1882, 8
      (pp. 38-38)

      An Argus reporter met Mr. Wilde after the lecture and found him to be a bright and sprightly young man, showing no signs of the languid demeanor so noticeable upon the stage. He was seated at a desk writing autographs for a number of young ladies.

      “I hope,” said he, “that I am obliging beautiful young ladies, for I make it a point to grant my autographs to no others.”

      In answer to an inquiry as to how he liked America, the poet said, “I really have seen almost nothing of your country. As I came up from New York...

    • 11. “OSCAR WILDE,” BOSTON HERALD, 29 JANUARY 1882, 7
      (pp. 39-47)

      Mr. Oscar Wilde arrived in Boston Saturday morning, after an all-night railroad journey from Albany, and went straightway to the Hotel Vendome,¹ and was assigned to pleasant rooms, which, however, had not been specially decorated in his honor, as announced by some imaginative writer. In fact, good friends of Mr. Wilde assert that at least three-quarters of what has been written about him since his arrival in this country is purely imaginative. Mr. Wilde’s arrival in Boston was made particularly pleasant by the fact that his old friend, Mr. Boucicault,² is here in the midst of his engagement at the...

    • 12. “THE AESTHETIC APOSTLE,” BOSTON GLOBE, 29 JANUARY 1882, 5
      (pp. 47-51)

      “Will Mr. Oscar Wilde favor the Globe representative with a few moments of his presence and attention, with a view to rectify some of the numerous misrepresentations that have preceded him to this city?”

      Such was the card borne on a silver platter to the apostle of aestheticism, as he sat in his elegantly furnished parlors at the Vendome last evening shortly after his return from dining with Oliver Wendell Holmes, James Freeman Clarke, Phillips Brooks, and others at the Saturday Club.¹ A gracious affirmative being received in reply, a newspaper man, with his heart full of indignation at America’s...

    • 13. LILIAN WHITING, “THEY WILL SHOW HIM,” CHICAGO INTER-OCEAN, 10 FEBRUARY 1882, 2
      (pp. 51-53)

      Jan. 29.—The poet of the aesthetes arrived at the Hotel Vendome yesterday. I did not see the lily-laden lyrist make his entrée in the portals, but I have the assurance of one of our Sunday morning papers of today that “Mr. Wilde arrived about noon and entered the Vendome like any ordinary person”—a statement that one must credit, considering the high local authority I quote, although I regret the fact, as I am sure something extraordinary was expected of Oscar in this important moment. The local historian neglects to chronicle whether or not his manner was intense, and...

    • 14. “A MAN OF CULTURE RARE,” ROCHESTER DEMOCRAT AND CHRONICLE, 8 FEBRUARY 1882, 4
      (pp. 53-56)

      Oscar Wilde, his knee breeches, his business manager and his colored body servant arrived in the city late yesterday afternoon and were at once driven to the Osburn house, where rooms had been assigned them. The great leader in modern aestheticism at once retired to his apartment and did not again make his appearance until half past 7 o’clock, when he rode to the Grand Opera house, where a blushing reporter of this paper was presented to him in the dressing room. There was certainly nothing limp nor languid in the hearty English grip with which he clasped the proffered...

    • 15. “WILDE SEES THE FALLS,” BUFFALO EXPRESS, CA. 9 FEBRUARY 1882; REPR. WHEELING REGISTER, 27 FEBRUARY 1882, 3
      (pp. 57-57)

      Niagara Falls, Ont., Feb. 9.—The day was all that could be desired for sightseeing. Oscar Wilde, who made his headquarters at the Prospect House, breakfasted early, and wrapping himself in his long fur coat, stood out on the veranda of the hotel for nearly an hour steadily gazing at the scene before him. A carriage was ordered at 9 o’clock, and in company with his agent, Mr. Vale, they started for the different points of interest. They returned at 2 o’clock. The change of scenery and fresh air seemed to please Mr. Wilde.

      After dinner Wilde conversed on his...

    • 16. “THE APOSTLE OF ART,” CHICAGO INTER-OCEAN, 11 FEBRUARY 1882, 4
      (pp. 57-61)

      Oscar Wilde, the apostle of aestheticism, the lover of all sweet, beautiful, and darling things in nature, the John the Baptist of the religion of art, the much-talked-of English lecturer, arrived in Chicago last night and took rooms at the Grand Pacific. A reporter for the Inter-Ocean called upon him and was kindly received. The aesthetic young man had been reclining in a very utter and languid attitude upon a sofa which was drawn up before the blazing grate, and the sofa was covered with a fine wolf-skin robe and a tiger skin, while where his head had lain was...

    • 17. “TRULY AESTHETIC,” CHICAGO INTER-OCEAN, 13 FEBRUARY 1882, 2
      (pp. 61-64)

      Oscar Wilde sat in his room in the Grand Pacific last night, a room made bright and artistic with beautiful things. A large center-table was heaped with choice old books, some of them rare old curios, with precious broken binding and soulful mediaeval dogs’ ears. In the window’s embrasure was a beautifully intense writing desk, all inlaid with pearl, quite Japanese and early English, heaped with letters answered and unanswered. The bright coal blazed in the grate. The sofa, with its covering of skins of wild beasts and its further curtain of the old-gold silk shawl, with netted fringe, was...

    • 18. “WILDE,” CLEVELAND LEADER, 20 FEBRUARY 1882, 6
      (pp. 64-67)

      He came yesterday on the afternoon train over the Lake Shore Road. By “he” is meant the great apostle of aestheticism; the man who proposed, so far as lies within the power of one person, to revolutionize modern English and American art and bring us to a true conception of the beautiful and a perfect understanding of the graceful. If he fail in this attempt, as fail he may, it is evident that Mr. Wilde has another object in view, and this latter purpose is more apt to result in full fruition than the former. He has an advance agent...

    • 19. “WITH MR. OSCAR WILDE,” CINCINNATI GAZETTE, 21 FEBRUARY 1882, 10
      (pp. 67-71)

      Mr. Oscar Wilde arrived in this city yesterday morning from Cleveland, en route to Louisville, where he is to lecture this evening. He remained over a day, wishing to have a preliminary glance at certain objects of interest here before his return on Thursday for his lecture on “The English Renaissance” at the Grand Opera House on the afternoon of that day.

      A Gazette representative having early information of the arrival of the great apostle of aestheticism, called upon him at the Burnet and was duly requested to follow his card to parlor No. 62, where Mr. Wilde was bestowed....

    • 20. “OSCAR WILDE” CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, 21 FEBRUARY 1882, 4
      (pp. 72-74)

      Oscar Wilde, the aesthete, arrived in the city yesterday, and took up his quarters in Burnet House, where a representative of the Enquirer met him late yesterday afternoon. The original of “Bunthorne” was reclining on a fauteuil when our ambassador entered his apartments. He arose rather more quickly than poetic grace demanded, and with a pleasant smile extended his right hand and gave him a cordial greeting. In person he is very tall, with broad shoulders and a plethora of arms and legs—that is, he has the usual complements of limbs, but they appear longer and more loosely jointed...

    • 21. “UTTERLY UTTER,” ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 25 FEBRUARY 1882, 4
      (pp. 75-78)

      An unusual bustle was visible about the corridors of the Southern this morning, which puzzled the guests as they entered. Knots of young men generally known in society stood around the pillars in attempted attitudes and seemed to be waiting intently. The clerks were more chipper than usual, and appeared to be expecting something. Many of the ladies who were down town shopping extended their promenade to Walnut Street, a thing very unusual, as they passed the hotel, craned their pretty necks in an attempt to gaze inside. Each carriage that stopped was watched curiously, and the appearances all indicated...

    • 22. “SPERANZA’s GIFTED SON,” ST. LOUIS GLOBE-DEMOCRAT, 26 FEBRUARY 1882, 3
      (pp. 78-83)

      A Globe-Democrat reporter awaited an hour when the Prince of Languor had presumably suspended the delights of deglutition, and then sent up a lily-white card, decorated with the legend by which he is known to his creditors. “He will see you in ten minutes,” said “Front” on his return.

      Mr. Wilde evidently desired time in which to run through the authorities on aesthetics in order to meet the reporter on equal terms. It must be remembered that he had entered the city at the Union Depot, had obtained a rear view of the Jail and the Four Courts, and had...

    • 23. “OSCAR AS HE IS,” ST. LOUIS REPUBLICAN, 26 FEBRUARY 1882, 13
      (pp. 83-88)

      The pen pictures which have been drawn of Oscar Wilde universally by American newspapers are like the reflection of the convex mirror, faithful and yet distorted. No one seeing the true Oscar Wilde could fail to recognize him from them, and no one of any perception could fail to recognize just as clearly that the man is not what has been described. The pictures have at once been true and untrue, with the untruth predominating. A Republican reporter who called on him at the Southern yesterday afternoon and was shown up to his room was forcibly impressed with this.

      Mr....

    • 24. “OSCAR WILDE,” CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 1 MARCH 1882, 7
      (pp. 88-93)

      Mr. Oscar Wilde, the celebrated aesthete, arrived in the city yesterday morning from Springfield, Ill., where he lectured Monday evening. He registered at the Grand Pacific Hotel, and was assigned to Parlor 11. About 2 o’clock yesterday afternoon a Tribune representative called at the hotel to see the apostle of the beautiful and to obtain his impressions of the Great West. The reportorial card was returned by a bellboy, who also brought the information that Mr. Wilde was asleep and could not be disturbed. A journey to his parlor was then made, but a stalwart African stood guard at the...

    • 25. “PHILOSOPHICAL OSCAR,” CHICAGO TIMES, 1 MARCH 1882, 7
      (pp. 93-95)

      Oscar Wilde returned to the city yesterday from Springfield, where he lectured the night before, and is at the Grand Pacific Hotel. During his western trip he has occupied platforms in St. Louis, Detroit, Cleveland, Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, and other cities. He says he was particularly pleased with Cincinnati. Its people have not only a great love of art, but they are doing much beautiful work. All schools of design, he says, which are young and inexperienced commit many faults, but in Cincinnati the work is good, and the workers are going at it in the right way. As to...

    • 26. “DAVID AND OSCAR,” CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 5 MARCH 1882, 5
      (pp. 95-98)

      Mr. Oscar Wilde was in the city yesterday afternoon, and, understanding that he had something to say in answer to Prof. David Swing’s criticism of him, published in a recent number of the Alliance, a representative of The Tribune called on him at the Grand Pacific Hotel. He lectured Friday evening in Aurora, appeared in Racine last evening, and discourses on the beautiful in art to the Philistines of Milwaukee this evening. As Milwaukee has been represented to him as a good town for Sunday shows, he thought he would try his Sunday experiment there first. He greeted the reporter...

    • 27. “OSCAR WILDE IN OMAHA,” OMAHA WEEKLY HERALD, 24 MARCH 1882, 2
      (pp. 98-100)

      Mr. Wilde and his servant and Mr. Vale, his business manager, arrived in Omaha yesterday from Sioux City and ensconced themselves at the Withnell House. The day without the four walls of the hotel was blustering and the wind swept occasional eddies of dust along the streets, rendering it very disagreeable for anyone not habituated to the climate who should venture out.

      Consequently when the Herald ambassador was admitted to Mr. Wilde’s presence toward evening after sending up his card, he found that gentleman not prepared to speak advisedly upon the architecture or other salient points of Omaha and the...

    • 28. “OSCAR WILDE: AN INTERVIEW WITH THE APOSTLE OF AESTHETICISM,” SAN FRANCISCO EXAMINER, 27 MARCH 1882, 2
      (pp. 100-105)

      Oscar Wilde arrived in this city at noon yesterday by the overland train. The news that he was on the train induced hundreds of curious persons to go over to the Oakland depot in order to catch a first glimpse of this new lion. To these persons a cursory inspection revealed a tall, well-built, clean-shaven, eccentrically dressed young man with remarkable features, a somber, melancholy face, lighted up at intervals in the conversation going on around him and directed entirely at him, by a frank, pleased smile that came readily and passed away quickly, leaving the face in repose, as...

    • 29. “OSCAR WILDE’S VIEWS,” SAN FRANCISCO MORNING CALL, 27 MARCH 1882, 4
      (pp. 105-109)

      Oscar Wilde arrived here yesterday on the overland train. A Call reporter who met him at Port Costa was introduced to a tall, large-faced man, with pleasant light brown eyes, winning smile, muddy complexion, and a charming manner. The two things about the gentleman which have given Gilbert’s pen and Du Maurier’s pencil such an amount of material to work upon are the use of extravagant and unusual adjectives in praise of art or anything artistically pleasing and an unusual style of dress. Gilbert has outrageously but brilliantly burlesqued the first; Du Maurier has faithfully reproduced the other, together with...

    • 30. “LO! THE AESTHETE,” SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE, 27 MARCH 1882, 3
      (pp. 109-115)

      The 8 o’clock ferryboat to Oakland yesterday morning carried a committee of reception, self-appointed, to meet Oscar Wilde, the apostle of aestheticism. The committee consisted of Manager Locke, several Bohemian Club men¹ and the usual flock of reporters that gathers on the railroad approaches to the city when some hapless celebrity is to be waylaid and ruthlessly rifled of his ideas of California. The committee having evidently had little more than forty winks of sleep, showed on its countenance the aesthetic pallor which bespeaks a true appreciation of utter beauty and a too joyous sympathy with poetic sentiment. Manager Locke,...

    • 31. “OSCAR ARRIVES,” SACRAMENTO RECORD-UNION, 27 MARCH 1882, 3
      (pp. 115-123)

      As a fitting introduction to the apostle of modern aestheticism, a Record-Union representative yesterday morning met Oscar Wilde at the depot with a bouquet of the choicest flowers that could be culled from Sacramento’s floral wealth, and being received by that gentleman with cordiality, the twain sat down to breakfast and had a chat, which, being unconcluded when train time was up, the apostle and the news-gatherer, having found themselves upon pleasantly debatable ground, continued the conversation in the cars as they went Bayward. Mr. Wilde is one of the best talked about men of the day. This cultured young...

    • 32. MARY WATSON, “OSCAR WILDE AT HOME,” SAN FRANCISCO EXAMINER, 9 APRIL 1882, 1
      (pp. 123-128)

      The English language is popularly supposed to be a vehicle of expression that was perfected long ago. It is intended not to conceal but to express thought, and only persons who labor after originality, like Robert Browning,¹ for instance, give themselves the trouble to twist its words into new meanings. Yet, strange to say, there are two words in the English language which of late are employed as frequently as any other two that could be named, if we make due exception of “charming” and “awful,” and they are “aesthetic” and “utter,” about the signification of which there seem to...

    • 33. “OSCAR WILDE,” SALT LAKE HERALD, 12 APRIL 1882
      (pp. 128-130)

      Our reporter called upon Mr. Oscar Wilde on Monday and was received by the distinguished aesthete with characteristic courtesy, Mr. Wilde speaking of his American experiences with the utmost candor.

      No part of America it appeared has struck Mr. Wilde so favorably as California, but as he said, “I have still to see Colorado.” Whatever may be the effect of Denver and Leadville, it is at present certain that San Francisco and the West Coast have captivated the poet, for Mr. Wilde intends to return there next year with a party of friends, “in the capacity,” as he described it,...

    • 34. “OSCAR WILDE,” DENVER ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, 13 APRIL 1882, 8
      (pp. 130-134)

      The aesthete has come. The man whose life and talents are devoted to the study and cultivation of the beautiful, and the business of making money, has arrived in this prosaic city, where dollars and cents rank high, and where beauty is valued only for its money value.

      Last evening’s train over the Cheyenne division was delayed about half an hour, and seated in the drawing-room car of the train was the much talked of Oscar Wilde, who manifested some regret and annoyance at the unexpected delay. The aesthete is not handsome, and yet he is remarkably fine-looking. About his...

    • 35. “ART AND AESTHETICS,” DENVER TRIBUNE, 13 APRIL 1882, 8
      (pp. 134-139)

      The train which brought Oscar Wilde over the Denver Pacific railroad last night was thirty minutes late, on account of a delayed connection at Cheyenne, and for this reason alone he was exactly thirty minutes behind the usual time for raising the curtain at Tabor Grand Opera house. He arrived in the midst of a spell of weather that is not specially palatable to aesthetic taste, and for that reason only there was not an overflowing audience, but the parquet and dress circle were filled.

      The train arrived just five minutes ahead of the time announced by telegraph, and baffled...

    • 36. “WHAT MR. WILDE SAYS ABOUT HIMSELF,” MANCHESTER EXAMINER AND TIMES [MAY 1882]; REPR. NEW YORK TRIBUNE, 11 JUNE 1882, 9, AND CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 17 JUNE 1882, 3
      (pp. 139-140)

      Mountain climbing is not a subject of general interest, and some of my readers may be glad to turn from Pike’s Peak to hear a word about Oscar Wilde the Great. I met Mr. Wilde a few days ago in Kansas and had a long conversation with him. In the eastern cities his photograph was most conspicuous, and Mr. Wilde told me that the demand for it far exceeded any possible supply. He was enthusiastic about the kindness he had received in many of the western towns, particularly Cincinnati, Chicago, and San Francisco, and spoke most highly of the culture...

    • 37. “AESTHETIC: AN INTERESTING INTERVIEW WITH OSCAR WILDE,” DAYTON DAILY DEMOCRAT, 3 MAY 1882, 4
      (pp. 141-146)

      A representative of the Democrat paid Mr. Wilde a visit in his room at the Beckel House just after he had finished his dinner yesterday. A more opportune moment for an interview could not have been chosen, for the old truth, well known, that a man’s sociability and talkativeness are at their best when the inner man has been supplied with all that nature demands or culinary skill can supply was here amply proven, and promptly in answer to the reporter’s card sent up from the office came the invitation to walk in.

      There sat the great Oscar Wilde, half...

    • 38. “OSCAR WILDE’S RETURN,” NEW YORK WORLD, 6 MAY 1882, 1
      (pp. 146-147)

      Mr. Oscar Wilde arrived in New York early yesterday morning and went to the Grand Hotel, where, yesterday afternoon, a World reporter found him.

      “ After I left the East,” said Mr. Wilde, “I found a people that struck me as more representatively American than those in the other states. It was west of Chicago that I found America. Here in the older country the people are very closely akin to the English. I arrived at last in San Francisco in the spring. The peach trees were in bloom in the orchard, the apple trees blossomed in the close, the...

    • 39. “OSCAR WILDE IN MONTREAL,” MONTREAL WITNESS, 15 MAY 1882, 8
      (pp. 147-150)

      Few men, at least of his age, have been so much talked about, and certainly none so much laughed at, as Oscar Wilde. Curiosity as to his personal appearance has been by no means abated by the many descriptions published, for readers at once recognize the fact that in some cases the most vivid language is useless to convey a correct impression, and Oscar Wilde has been considered a sufficiently unique personage to be one of those cases. Consequently, when a Witness reporter was ushered into the poet’s room at the Windsor Hotel this morning, his personal as well as...

    • 40. “OSCAR WILDE: THE ARCH-AESTHETE ON AESTHETICISM,” MONTREAL STAR, 15 MAY 1882, 3
      (pp. 151-153)

      Mr. Oscar Wilde arrived at the Windsor Hotel yesterday, where he very kindly received our reporter this morning. He was found amid the ruins of a substantial-looking breakfast, and there was nothing in his appearance to indicate that he had been sitting up all night with a lily, unless, indeed, the fact of his breakfasting late might suggest something of the sort; but then again, the fact of his breakfasting at all refutes such a supposition. Some of Mr. Wilde’s critics, in addition to caricaturing his principles, have gone so far as to accuse him of affectation to an offensive...

    • 41. “OSCAR WILDE,” TORONTO GLOBE, 25 MAY 1882, 3
      (pp. 154-155)

      Mr. Oscar Wilde arrived in the city yesterday morning on the Grand Trunk express from the East. A deputation of gentlemen belonging to the city was at the station to receive him and escort him to the Queen’s Hotel. By previous engagement he attended the lacrosse match between the Torontos and St. Regis Indians in the afternoon. He arrived on the grounds a few minutes before the game commenced, and when the grandstand and other available seats were densely packed. As he passed through the gate someone shouted, “Here’s Oscar Wilde.” The intelligence soon passed along the rows of seated...

    • 42. “THE AESTHETE AT THE ART EXHIBITION,” TORONTO GLOBE, 26 MAY 1882, 6
      (pp. 155-156)

      Mr. Oscar Wilde visited the exhibition of the Ontario Society of Artists yesterday afternoon, where he was shown around by Mr. T. M. Martin.¹ The aesthete spent about an hour there, criticizing the different works freely and with a quickness of perception which showed him to possess clear and well-defined ideas of true art. Portraits and object painting, containing nothing idealistic, he passed over as unworthy of notice. He especially admired Mr. Watson’s works,² finding in them considerable “soul” and “feeling,” expressing the opinion that the artist was “an exceedingly clever fellow.” Dull grey sky and rocks always attracted his...

    • 43. “OSCAR WILDE TALKS OF TEXAS,” NEW ORLEANS PICAYUNE, 25 JUNE 1882, 11
      (pp. 156-158)

      “There are in Texas two spots which gave me infinite pleasure. These are Galveston and San Antonio. Galveston, set like a jewel in a crystal sea, was beautiful. Its fine beach, its shady avenues of oleander, and its delightful sea breezes were something to be enjoyed. It was in San Antonio, however, that I found more to please me in the beautiful ruins of the old Spanish mission churches and convents and in the relics of Spanish manners and customs impressed upon the people and the architecture of the city. America is so full of youthful vigor and vitality that...

    • 44. “OSCAR WILDE: ARRIVAL OF THE GREAT AESTHETE,” ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 5 JULY 1882, 8
      (pp. 158-161)

      When Oscar Wilde reached Atlanta yesterday from Macon, he disembarked from the train and stalked with measured tread to the Markham, flanked by his valet; when he entered the arcade of the Markham, he advanced to the radiator and came to a halt. There he posed; one hand sought the spot where the heart was supposed to be and the other hung by his side. His head was thrown back, his long locks fell over his shoulders, and he gazed upon the frescoing in the ceiling apparently oblivious of the curious gazes that were directed toward him. His able secretary...

    • 45. “OSCAR DEAR, OSCAR DEAR!” CHARLESTON NEWS AND COURIER, 8 JULY 1882, 4
      (pp. 162-165)

      The arrival of the apostle of modern aestheticism was an event which would have been marked by something of a demonstration, but for the fact that very few people knew at what hour the apostle would reach the city. A few moments after 1 o’clock yesterday an open carriage stopped in front of the ladies’ entrance to the Charleston Hotel. From this emerged first a small but good-looking American citizen, a little off color; then a dapper little red whiskered man; and finally two hundred pounds avoirdupois of aesthetic human flesh and bones done up in a mouse-colored velveteen shooting...

    • 46. “LOVELINESS AND POLITENESS,” NEW YORK SUN, 20 AUGUST 1882, 5
      (pp. 165-166)

      The following extract from the New Orleans Times was shown to Oscar Wilde by a Sun reporter in a parlor car of the Long Beach Railroad on Wednesday evening:

      Oscar Wilde pronounced Miss Alsatia Allen of Montgomery, Ala., the most beautiful young lady he had seen in the United States.

      Mr. and Mrs. Steele Mackaye¹ were in Mr. Wilde’s party, which was returning from Long Beach. Mr. Wilde was dressed in a light gray suit of Irish frieze, with a high-crowned slouch hat of light gray. He removed his hat as he read the paragraph, allowing his abundant long hair...

    • 47. “THE APOSTLE OF BEAUTY IN NOVA SCOTIA,” HALIFAX MORNING HERALD, 10 OCTOBER 1882, 2
      (pp. 166-172)

      The afternoon train from St. John on Friday brought beauty’s latest evangel to our province. He came not surrounded by a halo of blue and purple glory, not in a carved car, not in a Greek urn. He rode on the engine. He saw the little hills rejoicing merrily. He saw Moncton, and noticed the irradiant wonder of the Transcript editor. He took in the Pre-Raphaelism of Dorchester. He rejoiced at the preciousness of Westcock, and was enraptured at the gaudy leonine beauty of the Tantramar.¹ Oscar praised the railroad and liked the appointment of the cars. He smoked the...

    • 48. “OSCAR WILDE THOROUGHLY EXHAUSTED,” NEW YORK TRIBUNE, 27 NOVEMBER 1882, 3
      (pp. 172-174)

      Oscar Wilde is living in furnished rooms at present in West Eleventh Street. He has not delivered any lectures recently, and although he may occasionally appear upon the platform again in this country, he does not contemplate giving any further serious attention to the lecture business for the benefit and aesthetic enlightenment of Americans. Since his return from the professional tour of the watering-places in the summer, he has been living the life of a man about town. Through the kind offices of “Sam” Ward¹ and other friends, he obtained a visitor’s card to the Manhattan Club,² and has been...

  6. APPENDIX:: Wilde’s Lecture

    • FROM IMPRESSIONS OF AMERICA, ED. STUART MASON (SUNDERLAND, U.K.: KEYSTONE, 1906)
      (pp. 177-182)
  7. BIBLIOGRAPHY OF ALL KNOWN INTERVIEWS WITH OSCAR WILDE
    (pp. 183-186)
  8. WORKS CONSULTED
    (pp. 187-188)
  9. INDEX
    (pp. 189-194)
  10. Back Matter
    (pp. 195-196)