ISBN : 9780198802372
Witty, inspiring, and charismatic, Oscar Wilde is one of the Greats of English literature. Today, his plays and stories are beloved around the world. But it was not always so. His afterlife has given him the legitimacy that life denied him. Making Oscar Wilde reveals the untold story of young Oscar's career in Victorian England and post-Civil War America. Set on two continents, this book tracks a larger-than-life hero on an unforgettable adventure to make his name and gain international acclaim. 'Success is a science,' Wilde believed, 'if you have the conditions, you get the result.'
Combining new evidence and gripping cultural history, Michèle Mendelssohn dramatizes Wilde's rise, fall, and resurrection as part of a spectacular transatlantic pageant. With superb style and an instinct for story-telling, she brings to life the charming young Irishman who set out to captivate the United States and Britain with his words and ended up conquering the world. Following the twists and turns of Wilde's journey, Mendelssohn vividly depicts sensation-hungry Victorian journalism and popular entertainment alongside racial controversies, sex scandals, and the growth of Irish nationalism. This ground-breaking revisionist history shows how Wilde's tumultuous early life embodies the story of the Victorian era as it tottered towards modernity. Riveting and original, Making Oscar Wilde is a masterful account of a life like no other.
List of Plates
Prologue: What's the matter with Oscar Wilde?
PART ONE, 1854-1881
Do You Find the World Very Hollow?
Astonishing the Dons
Not Having Set the World Quite on Fire
PART TWO, 1882-1883
Colonel Morse's Campaign
Mr. Wild of Borneo, or The Paddy
Life Imitates Art
Is it Manhood?
The War of Art
Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing
Son of Speranza
PART THREE, 1883-1900
Success is a Science
You Have Made Your Name
By the Throat
Epilogue: The Private View
Appendix: The Mystery of Wilde's Black Valet