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Making Oscar Wilde


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Table of Contents

List of Plates Prologue: What's the matter with Oscar Wilde? PART ONE, 1854-1881 Turning Points 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 Oscar Dear 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 Underground Men Going South The Confederate 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

About the Author

Michele Mendelssohn is a literary critic and cultural historian. She is Associate Professor of English Literature at Oxford University. She earned her doctorate from Cambridge University and was a Fulbright Scholar at Harvard University. Her previous books include Henry James, Oscar Wilde, and Aesthetic Culture and two co-edited collections of literary criticism, Alan Hollinghurst and Late Victorian Into Modern (shortlisted for the 2017 Modernist Studies Association Book Prize). She has published in The New York Times, The Guardian, African American Review, Journal of American Studies, Nineteenth Century Literature, and Victorian Literature and Culture.


`Michele Mendelssohn's Making Oscar Wilde is a fresh, exciting and illuminating study of the construction of celebrity and reputation. Looking at Wilde's trip to the United States in 1882, Mendelssohn shows both how stereotypes of the wild Irish immigrant and the minstrel show, and the promotional strategies of Wilde and his tour manager, made him a controversial star. The story of St. Oscar will never be the same.' - Elaine Showalter, Professor Emerita of English, Princeton University`A scholastic triumph, this highly original book rewrites the story of Oscar's tour of America with new, vivid detail, from fresh, unmined sources. Presenting the young Wilde caught in up a complex web of social and racial prejudices, Mendelssohn not only offers us a surprising view of Oscar through the lens of c19th America, but refocuses the young Wilde for a new generation.' - Franny Moyle`Michele Mendelssohn's vividly written, consistently illuminating, and lavishly illustrated book is full of surprises, above all in showing how Wilde's Irishness played into the story of race relations in post-Civil War America.' - Michael Gorra, author of Portrait of a Novel: Henry James and the Making of an American Masterpiece`An original, meticulously-researched and beautifully-paced account of how a modern writer invented himself, and was invented, as an international artist-celebrity. He made his world, but not in conditions of his own choosing. This stylish meditation on the mysteries of identity illustrates Wilde's belief that the best way to intensify a personality is to multiply it.' Declan Kiberd, author of Ulysses and Us

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