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Oscar Wilde and His Circles

Vol II.                                                                                                                                                    No.  3

March 2002

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Notice of the ninth (February) issue of THE OSCHOLARS was transmitted to 523 readers.  Since then, the number of those registered as readers of the journal has risen to 568 in thirty-five countries, the great majority in one or other of 229 universities or university colleges from Alabama to Zadar.  THE OSCHOLARS is also subscribed in the City Library, Ystad, Sweden; the National Library of Ireland; the Library of Trinity College, Dublin; and the Library of the Instituto de Artes del Espectáculo, University of Buenos Aires.

Plans continue for 'Staging Wilde', the first OSCHOLARS colloquium on Oscar Wilde, which will take place in Senate House, University of London, on Tuesday 25th June in collaboration with the Institute of English Studies  Expanded details of this will continue to be given in THE OSCHOLARS.  The fee for the day will be £25.00, £15.00 concessions.  Coffee/tea and biscuits will be provided, and lunch facilities are available in Senate House at the Macmillan Restaurant.  We hope that the day will conclude with a reception.

Please regard this notice as a Call for Papers. 

All those giving papers will have the option of publishing them in a special supplement to THE OSCHOLARS.

Numbers are limited to one hundred; all bookings up to 1st May will be at the concessionary rate.  (Cheques, money orders should be made out to THE OSCHOLARS.)  As the Colloquium will be widely promoted, we urge early booking.

Speakers so far engaged are Yvonne Brewster, director of the Talawa Theatre Company, who will talk about her 1989 all-black production of The Importance of Being Earnest; Robert Gordon, Reader in Drama and Head of the Drama Department at Goldsmiths College, on the staging of the 'society plays' in Britain the last decade; Robert Tanitch, author of Oscar Wilde On Stage and Screen (London: Methuen 1999); Frederick Roden, Assistant Professor of English, University of Connecticut, on 'Staging Wilde in the Classroom'.

As always, suggestions for improvements, additions and above all corrections, to THE OSCHOLARS are very welcome.

There is a new section this month, 'And I? May I say nothing?', in which from time to time points from our own research will be published.  Readers who wish to publish articles should first consider The Wildean, contacts for which are to be found below.  As a print journal, The Wildean is more substantial than THE OSCHOLARS, although we each believe the other is complementary to our own endeavour.  That said, readers may wish to submit articles for consideration that are too long for the Notes and Queries section and too short for The Wildean or elsewhere.  We are certainly not going to publish our own musings and refuse to consider those of others.

The April issue will see the introduction of a new correspondence section.  This will be a link from our homepage to a JISCmail page.  JISCmail is the (British) National Academic Mailing List, the equivalent of the North American LISTSERV, and will function throughout the month.  It operates in a way not dissimilar to Yahoo discussion groups, but is linked to other academic sites.  It will only be accessible to readers of THE OSCHOLARS, who will be able to inaugurate their own discussions and controversies where these are germane to the purposes of THE OSCHOLARS.  We will use it to announce news that arrives after our copydate, and we also hope it will serve in particular to keep student readers in touch with one another.

Nothing in THE OSCHOLARS© is copyright to the Journal (although it may be to individual writers) unless indicated by ©,and the usual etiquette of attribution will doubtless be observed.  Please feel free to download it, re-format it, print it, store it electronically whole or in part, copy and paste parts of it, and (of course) forward it to colleagues.

As usual, names emboldened in the text are those of subscribers to THE OSCHOLARS, who may be contacted through  Underlined text in blue can be clicked for navigation through the document or to other addresses. 

One innovation in this issue has been introduced to help navigation. By clicking on any Green Carnation displayed thus ,.  To return to our hub page, click ; and for THE OSCHOLARS home page, click .  [Noted added February 2007: with our move to some attempt has been made to standardise these navigational aids throughout all issue.]

The bust of Oscar Wilde displayed above is by the Irish sculptor Jeanne Reinhart; photograph kindly supplied by Claudia Letat (Oscar Wilde- Ode an ein Genie).  The Spanish translation of 'There is only one thing worse than being talked about' has been kindly supplied by Irene Lukasch of BuenosAires.

The technical assistance of Dr John Phelps of Goldsmiths College has been invaluable; but the errors remain the Editor's.

Editor: D.C.  Rose


Click on any entry for direct access


15.  Literature and Ethics


16.  Any topic

1.  Publications and Papers

17.  Women's Voices in Poetry

2.  The Oscar Wilde Societies

18.  The American Journal of Print

3.  Wilde on the Curriculum

19.  Literary Texts and the Visual Arts

4.  Work in Progress

20.  Collaboration

5.  Broadcasts

21.  The McNeese Review

6.  The Swedish Connection

22.  Trickster's Way

7.  The Nightingale and the Rose

23.  The Importance of Being Arthur (new call)


24.  Scandals as Cultural Phenomenon

1.  Salome in Copenhagen

25.  Victorian Ireland (second call)

2.  Salomé in Ghent

26.  Scope

3.  Salome in Honolulu

27.  Multicultural Dilemmas: Identity /Difference /Otherness


28.  Text and Illustration

1.  Film


2.  Exhibitions

1.  Wilkie Collins

a. Yinka Shonibare

2.  The Picture of Dorian Gray

b. Impressionists

3.  Thomas Bell: A Final Ring

c. Phil May

4.  Colonel Isaacson

d. The Kelmscott Press

5.  Sir Roger Casement

3.  Talks

6.  G.S. Street/Violet Hunt

4.  Conferences

7.  Oscar Wilde and the British Museum

a. Pre-Raphaelite Study Weekend

8.  An Oscarious error?

b. Re-writing Irish Histories

9.  Dorothy Parker

c. International Symposium for Directors

10.  Arts and Crafts

d. Culture Institutions

11.  The Western Wilde

e. The 'Avant-Garde' again

12.  The floral dance?

f. International Association of Theatre Critics

13.  Wallpaper

g. The British Association for Victorian Studies

14.  Wilde dimensions

5.  Papers and Publications

15.  'Lesbian Lives'

a. Boèce

16.  Notes towards an Iconography of Wilde

b. Books on Line

17.  Oscar in Popular Culture

c. The Correspondence of Dante Gabriel Rossetti

18.  Wilde as Unpopular Culture

d. The Swinburne Project

19.  Picked from the Platter

6.  Broadcast


7.  Red House



1.  Australia

1.  Japonaiserie at the Fin-de-Siècle

2.  England

2.  On the history of European pornography

3.  France

3.  Baudelaire and Poe

4.  Germany

4.  Media Events in the Nineteenth Century

5.  Italy

5.  Victorian Frauds

6.  Scotland

6.  Children's Literature

7.  USA

7.  Masculinity and Propaganda

8.  Wales

8.  History of Literary Reception


9.  Illustrated Texts


10.  Emigration / Immigration in Irish Literature and Theatre


11.  Respect and Respectability


12.  English Literature 1800-1900


13.  Theatre and Material Culture

1.  Margot Asquith on Oscar Wilde

14.  Queer Bodies, Queer Spaces

2.  Pagans and Paganism

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Publication is on the last day of each month(or if this is not possible, the first day of the next); copydate is not later than the 25th.

Please specify if you wish your e-mail address to be included.

Work in Progress: Please give the provisional title, status (e.g.  article, book, M.A.  Dissertation, Ph.D.  thesis etc.)and where appropriate your university affiliation.

Publications: Full title, publisher, place and date of publication as usual, ISBN if possible.

Notices: If you are kindly submitting notices of events, such as conferences, productions, broadcasts or lectures, please include as many details as you can: venue, date, time, and contact address if possible or relevant.

Notes & Queries: Please keep these reasonably short, and use the new section 'And I? May I say nothing?' for longer pieces.


1.  Publications and Papers

Trevor Fisher's Oscar and Bosie, A Fatal Passion will be published on 18th March by Sutton Publishing at £20 stg.  Hardback.  ISBN 0750924594.  It will be reviewed in THE OSCHOLARS by Alan Sinfield.

Merlin Holland will be talking on 'No place; no date; wrong envelope; the problems and pleasures of editing the letters of Oscar Wilde' at the Crescent Arts Centre, University Road, Belfast on Saturday 16th March.  This is an event of Between the Lines, Belfast's Literary Festival, 14th - 23rd March.  Bookings and enquiries 028 90 242338.

Claudia Letat's Oscar Wilde - Standing Ovations continues to expand its coverage at

Philip E.  Smith writes 'I'm editing the MLA Approaches to Teaching the Works of Oscar Wilde; the first call for contributors appeared in the Fall of 2000 and there is now a full table of contents for the proposed volume which is under consideration by editors and referees.  However, additional responses to the questionnaire about current approaches to teaching would be welcome.  If you'd like to receive an e-mail copy, please write and I'll send one.  For the volume I'll write an introductory section discussing current approaches based on the returned questionnaires and the situation of teaching Wilde in universities.'

Department of English, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15260.  Fax (412) 661-1303

v      Philip E.  Smith is co-editor with Michael Helfand of Oscar Wilde’s Oxford Notebooks - A Portrait of a Mind in the Making, Oxford University Press 1989.

NOTE ADDED MARCH 2006 and updated February 2007: This Volume is still in the making.  – Ed.  THE OSCHOLARS.

The Newsletter of the Oscar Wilde Society, in a 'new series' under the title Intentions has evolved in recent times and is now issued six times a year containing details of events for Society members, public events of Wildean interest, and brief notices of publications whose contents are primarily or more incidentally Wildean.  The current Intentions (No.  18 - February 2002) mentions among a number of others, Peter Ackroyd's The Collection, Terry Eagleton's The Gatekeeper, the first issue of Boèce: revue romande des sciences humaines and Laurel Brake's Print in Transition 1850-1910: Studies in Media History.

The notes about events for members include those forthcoming, such as the Society visit to Dieppe and Berneval, and accounts of recent occasions (which in previous years were more often covered in The Wildean).  In the current issue, we recount the Society's visit to Trinity College  in the company of a witty and knowledgeable guide, an author's lunch with Matthew Sweet (Inventing the Victorians) and a meeting at the Shaw Society where Neil Titley and Barry Morse put their hobbyhorses  (Wilde and Shaw) to the joust.  The Annual Birthday Dinner is also described, both the talk by Patrick Garland and the souvenir menu with its facsimile of the programme for George Alexander's 1902 revival of Earnest.

For further details of the Society and its publications see below.

—and for the record:

A lecture Oscar Wilde in Context: Drama, Meaning and Material Culture by Joel Kaplan (Universityof Birmingham) was held at King's College, London, on 23rd January.  We regret that we learned of this too late to include it in the January edition of THE OSCHOLARS.

A lecture Peacocks and Pearls: Oscar Wilde and Sarah Bernhardt by John Stokes (King's College, University of London) was held at King's on 27th February.  We regret that we learned of this too late to include it in the February edition of THE OSCHOLARS

Photograph of Sarah Bernhardt courtesy of Mark Rimmel's website The Sarah Bernhardt Pages

2.  The Oscar Wilde Societies

The inaugural celebration of the new Oscar Wilde Society of America, founded by Marilyn Bisch and Joan Navarre, will be held in Minneapolis and Saint Paul, Minnesota, the weekend of Saint Patrick's Day 2002.

Marilyn Bisch writes

Information on the Society , including a schedule of events for the Saint Patrick’s Day Weekend celebration of the society's inaugural in Minneapolis and Saint Paul, Minnesota, are now available on-line.

The address is:

The society is especially pleased to announce that in commemoration of the 120th anniversary of Oscar’s visit to the Twin Cities, Mayor Randy C.  Kelly, has officially proclaimed Saturday, 16th March, 'Oscar Wilde Day' in the city of Saint Paul.

'Oscar Wilde Day' special events will include participation of society members and supporters in the Saint Patrick's Day Parade through downtown Saint Paul, from 11 a.m.  to 1 p.m., and a general meeting of the Oscar Wilde Society of America, from 2 to 5 p.m., at the Saint Paul Hotel.

The meeting is free and open to the public, but registration is requested.  A registration form is available at the OWSOA web page, as are contact addresses for those desiring further information.

The officers of the society would like to thank all those who responded to the announcement of the society’s foundation in THE OSCHOLARS February issue.  Such kind and generous offers of support are truly a hallmark of Wilde scholarship, and are greatly appreciated.

The officers of the Society are

Marilyn Bisch, President; Department of Humanities; Root Hall A-140; Indiana State University; Terre Haute, IN 47809.  telephone 812.237.8272.  e-mail

Joan Navarre, Vice President; e-mail

Richard Freed, Treasurer; English Department; Case Annex 488; Eastern Kentucky University; Richmond, Kentucky 40475.  e-mail

John B Thomas III, Secretary; Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center; The University of Texas at Austin.

Donald Mead (Oscar Wilde Society, Great Britain) has provided Society's events programme for the first half of 2002.  These events are only open to members of the Society, but details of membership may be obtained by reference to the Society's section of THE OSCHOLARS (see below).

3rd to 5th May: Weekend in Dieppe and Berneval.

20th July: Lunch at Magdalen College, Oxford.

Colleen Platt, who founded the internet Oscar Wilde Discussion Group, has withdrawn as List Owner/Moderator.  It is now being run by Ms Platt's co-moderator, Rob Stoddard, who is Administrator of the Institute of European Studies at the University of British Columbia, and John Cooper has become the new co-moderator.  Ms Platt built up the group from scratch to its present membership  of 241, and we hope to see her name associated with other Wilde endeavours.  The Group, which also discusses the work of J.R.R.  Tolkien, can be found at

3.  Wilde on the Curriculum

We decided to broaden out our Wilde on the Curriculum feature by instigating a discussion on VICTORIA, which has brought us a number of new readers.  We present here a synoptic view of the points made (all but two, interestingly enough, from North America).  The focus was chiefly on The Importance of being Ernest.  We also asked about sensitivities to Wilde’s attitudes, involving 'the hideous Jew', Mr Isaacs.  Of course the phrase is Dorian's, not authorial.  Would any of the earlier contributors to this section like to return to the task?

Heather Schell (Georgetown University) taught The Importance of Being Earnest in two classes last year at the Hamilton Campus of Miami University of Ohio, an open enrolment two-year campus in the rural Midwestern U.S.  The enrolees were primarily first-generation college students, in a British Literature survey class, as well as in the segment on plays in the Composition and Literature sections.  Each classput on a rough production of the play, with every student participating in at least one act.  They got some credit toward their final grade for their work on the project, which gave everyone some extra incentive.  The smallest roles were given to the students with literacy problems, while the most talented students took the more challenging parts.  Each act had its own director, and one class day was devoted to reading the play through.  Dr Schell answered questions about content and pronunciation during this reading.  Every group was required to meet outside of class for at least one rehearsal; some groups met more often.  The students who felt overwhelmed at the prospect of memorizing the lines were given permission to read from their scripts during the performance.  Having to work through the lines in order to perform in class forced the students to figure out the meaning.  By the date of the class performances (the audience comprised of students not performing in any given act), everyone got the jokes.  It didn't seem to matter that they'd needed the jokes explained to them only a week earlier - they enjoyed the play as though everything were fresh.  On their class evaluations, many students noted Earnest as their favorite reading.  Dr Schell adds 'Many faculty might not want to devote so much class time to a single play, but I found it quite rewarding.'

Eva Badowska (Fordham University) has been teaching Earnest in a number of contexts.  Ina sophomore seminar in comparative literature at Harvard (when she was a Lecturer there some years ago), she used it to open up questions of 'naming', going on to read Saussure, Barthes, and Lacan.  Now, she teaches it in a completely different context, the 19th/20th century survey which is required of majors at Fordham.  In this context, Dr Badowska focuses on Wildean refractions of æstheticism through irony (having read fragments from Pater the week before).  'I also teach it - I can just hear a collective gasp of horror - in my freshman writing class.  There, we often perform scenes and focus primarily on the notion of "wit." Students then writea close reading of a chosen scene analyzing the workings of wit within it ("Bunburying" in Act I is a clear favorite).  Actually, I think my freshmen enjoy it a lot, though enjoyment doesn't necessarily equal comprehension.'

Others also referred to comprehension.  Chris Willis (Birkbeck College, University of London) wrote that cultural differences did emerge: 'I suspect that there may be a bit of a culture gap here.  In the UK the play is so frequently seen on stage, TV and in endless amateur productions that it's almost inescapable (as a child, my partner once saw three different productions of it in a fortnight!)  So most students had seen (or even taken part in) productions of it before we studied it.  And we did begin by showing extracts from a video - I defy anyone to keep a straight face while watching Edith Evans as Lady Bracknell!'  There is a real difference (not just a distinction) about the way a wider American audience and a wider British one will respond to a text, especially if it focuses on a critique of the upper class and the hierarchy of Britain.'

In the experience of Lisa Jadwin (St. John Fisher College, New York) who has taught Earnest usually in the context of a 19th /20th century survey, there has been incomprehension from students ('I [...] understand the frustration of trying to explain the humor to a group of grumpy and stone-eyed students.')  Part of this, she thinks,  'stems from their relative inexperience as readers, and extends to other satirical Victorian texts like Vanity Fair'.  Professor Jadwin goes on to raise rather more critical issues: 'The ideological assumptions of the jokes critique, however, seem to me to be more postmodern than Victorian, and this may account for many students' resistance to the humor of the play as well as their delight when they "get"  the gist.  I have had some success in sending them on a joke-finding mission before our first discussion of the play - they are instructed to mine the first act for Wilde’s neatly inverted jokes, which they then are required to categorize ("money and credit," "loveless marriage," "lying").  Then when we meet as a class, we scrutinize the patterns that have become evident - and address the question, "Why are these critiques presented as jokes?"

'Ultimately this makes it possible for us to address the way Wilde has reconfigured "earnestness" as accessible only through irony and indirection.

'While this doesn't necessarily help them get the scintillating humor of the play, it at least helps them see how Wilde is operating, and occasionally one of them starts to roar at Lane's preposterous whopper that "there were no cucumbers to be had at the market, even for ready money" (probably as they consider their own credit-card debt).'

Professor Jadwin adds of the Anthony Asquith film 'though it may seem dated, the performances are so delightful that even the most resistant students invariably make the trip over to the library to watch the whole thing.  Then again, maybe they're just avoiding reading.' Academic cynicism apart, this does help explain the popularity of Wilde in America for theatre audiences, and it would seem that these students, even if they will not turn into literary exegesists, will at least support the stage!

Sheldon Goldfarb (University of British Columbia, Canada) also taught The Importance of Being Earnest to a first-year class, 90% of whom were Chinese students, essentially a remedial class for students for whom English was a second language.  'One amusing incident that I remember concerns a student in the class who was named Ernest.  I asked him to explain the difference between "earnest" and "Ernest."  The word "earnest," he correctly defined as meaning serious.  And Ernest, I asked? "That's my name," he said.

'I have a sense that the class may in some ways have had less trouble with Wilde than a class full of North American-born students might have, because many of them were from Hong Kong and had had a British-influenced upbringing.  Unfortunately, I never taught the play again, so cannot compare the ESL experience with a native English one.'

Mary Lenard (University of Wisconsin-Parkside) provided a more detailed approach to Wilde.

'One technique that has always helped my students to "get" the humor of a Wilde play is to set aside a particularly funny scene (in The Importance of Being Earnest I always use that part of Act 1 from when Lady Bracknell and Gwendolen come in to Lady Bracknell's exit) and tell the students that they will be reading it aloud in class the next class day.  Have students volunteer for different roles, and tell them to look over their parts, so they can put some feeling into their "acting." If there is hesitation about volunteering, first get someone to do Algernon's manservant, Lane (Lane only has one line in the section of the play that I use) and this assignment of a "bit part" to someone always gets a laugh and loosens things up enough so that other people volunteer for the bigger roles.  I do Lady Bracknell myself unless a particularly enthusiastic student asks to do it.  The reading is always fun and the volunteer students do a good job, although there is some stumbling over unfamiliar words.  Sometimes, I will have a particularly good actor wanna-be who will do a great performance in a role - one semester, for example, I had a young African-American woman who did a creditable Lady Bracknell.  I have found that listening to their peers' rendition of these wonderfully absurd lines gets a few giggles outof even the toughest class.

'I agree that the 1950's movie with Edith Evans and Michael Redgrave is great, but it helps to have the students get into the drama a little themselves too.'

Julie Melnyk (University of Missouri, Columbia) says that she always teaches The Importance of Being Earnest at the end of her Victorian survey course, showing the film and even serving cucumber sandwiches - 'with dainty cookies provided for the less adventurous'.  The week is invariably a success: the students, having just finished a semester of engagement with Victorian culture, not only get the jokes butare pleased with themselves for getting them.  The final exam then introduces each essay question with a quotation from the play: most of the topics get at least an epigram from Wilde.

Sheldon Goldfarb replied to this that it reminded him that when he taught it, though it was not in the wake of teaching high Victorian texts, he made a point of noting various Victorian attitudes that Wilde was sending up.  For instance, after drawing the Ernest-earnest dichotomy out of my student Ernest, he went on to note that earnestness was a Victorian ideal which Wilde was mocking by, in this play, making it important tobe Ernest rather than earnest.

There are other culture gaps.  Dr Badowska noted that whenever she describes what cucumber sandwiches are to her students, they invariably make noises of profound disgust.  'Where is this coming from? Especially from a generation that grew up on peanut butter and jelly!'  Dr Lenard, however, added the useful information that with cucumber sandwiches, it helps to remove the seeds from the cucumber slices (because then you have less sliminess and slipping around of the cucumber slices),and to press out as much extra liquid as you can with layers of paper towel.  (Various recipes for cucumber sandwiches were given by correspondents, to which we may return one day: meanwhile we content ourselves by fishing from our crane bag the recollection that in Dutch the 'silly season' is known as 'cucumber time'.)

Richard Fulton (Whatcom CommunityCollege, Washington) is teaching The Importance of Being Earnest in his English Literature survey course, pairingthe reading with a video of the 1950s film, using Wilde as an example of the fin-de-siècle in English literature: (I'm trying to trace a number of cultural and artistic attitudes in the survey rather than simplystart in one century and march stolidly on to the present'.

Moving away from the plays, Margot Louis (University of Victoria, Canada) wrote that she taught "Impressions" and" Symphony in Yellow" near the end of her Victorian Poetry course, and bring in some Whistler for context.  'Usually there are one or two bright and/or artistic souls who thoroughly enjoy this, and others who are baffled.  WhenI teach first-year lit., I always include The Importance of Being Earnest, but it's some years since I gave that course.  I have taught The Picture of Dorian Gray (also some years ago), and it was very popular; in a Victorian Poetry and Prose course, I included The Critic as Artist and The Portrait of Mr. W. H.'

Meri-Jane Rochelson (Florida Internationa lUniversity) has also been teaching Dorian Gray both to undergraduates ,and in her graduate course.  Referring to Mr Isaacs, while stressing that this is not her finally developed view of the point, Dr Rochelson writes 'It seems to me that Wilde, while incorporating the bigoted view of his time, also partly salvages this character by noting his insistence in producing the classics of drama in his seedy East End venue.  And "others" in Wilde should always be looked at closely,I think'.

Finally, Sondeep Kandola (Birkbeck College, University of London) wrote:

'Just to add to the Wilde teaching experiences - whilst teaching a seminar on new historicism/cultural materialism last week ...  I looked at ideas of surveillance in Wilde’s The Sphinx Without A Secret which actually worked really well -perhaps I was blessed with a particularly bright group but my students' conceptualisation of surveillance/gender roles was really heightened by using this piece - so that is one of Wilde’s stories that I'd definitely recommend using especially when compared to the poem The Sphinx.'

4. Work in Progress

Mary Callaghan writes

I am a final year PhD student at the Department of Music, Queen's University of Belfast.  The subject of my thesis is Richard Strauss's opera, Salome.  I am dealing primarily with the issue of meaning.  This is being approached from two angles: firstly, what Salome meant to the composer, and secondly, what it meant to his contemporaries.  The first line of enquiry involves my examining the composer's sketchbooks, annotated copy of the play, and his personal correspondence with colleagues and friends in which Salome is mentioned.  The musical setting is also examined, with particular attention being paid to the nature and development of the thematic material, and the symbolic use of instrumentation and key.  The second part of the study is an investigation into the early reception history of the opera in various cities (Dresden, Graz, Paris, London, New York).  The response of critics, other composers, and music lovers as found in concert reviews, educational booklets on the work, journal articles, and personal recollections is examined.

Tiffany MacEnroe (Royal Holloway College, University of London) is working on the influence on Yeats and Joyce of the Irish poet James Clarence Mangan (1803-1849) for a Ph.D.  Mangan was so much an '1890s' figure half a century early that other traces of him in the works and correspondence of the 1890s writers may be found.  We would welcome any report of such sightings.

5.  Broadcasts

We know of no broadcasts by subscribers in March, and refer readers to the News from Elsewhere section

6.  The Swedish Connection

The award to Sir William Wilde of the Swedish order of the Polar Star is well-known, as are Speranza's Swedish enthusiasms.  Irene Gilsenan-Nordin writes 'The English Department at Högskolan Dalarna is in the process of applying for external funding for a project which aims to establish a Research Centre for Irish Studies (RECIS).  The project aims to set up a national and international network, facilitating student and teacher exchange in the form of jointly run courses, conference and seminar activities, and through joint research projects.  These activities will enhance an exchange of ideas between scholars of different nationalities and specialities, by providing a forum for Swedish and international experts in various fields of Irish studies.'

Anybody interested in this should contact Dr Gilsenan-Nordin at  We hope for some stimulation of Swedish interest in Sir William and Speranza.

7.  The Nightingale and the Rose

One of the more unusual Oscar Wilde manifestations, and a very welcome one, is a version of The Nightingale and the Rose as a play for radio.  This has been created as a school project by Anna Baumann and Andrea Thür, of the Kantonsschule im Lee, Winterthur, Switzerland, where they are in their last year.  There is a frame-story of how they came to choose The Nightingale and the Rose, and then the dramatisation, with the authors reading the parts.  Ms Thür plays the piano in the beginning of the radio play and at the end, and also while singing the duet between the Oak tree and the Nightingale.  Ms Baumann plays the piano when the Nightingale sings to the Oak tree.  This has been recorded on a CD.  We hope to hear more of this.


We hope to carry at least one review in each issue.

1.  Salome in Copenhagen

by Peter Hyldekjær

In November 2001 and January/February 2002 the Royal Theatre has revived the production (and now co-production) of Salome from Jyske Opera(1999).

The Opera is as a willing stroke, that goes from sensual decadence to a black destructive fable, staged and produced by Michael Melbye with 'updated' soldiers wearing uzis and Herod wearing a dinner jacket under the oriental coat.  Now and then meet Modernity on stage.

Salome - the 16 year old formidable manipulator - a victim of her surroundings- is sung brilliantly by soprano Tine Kiberg (Jan./Feb.2002) though in her acting less dangerous than Inga Nielsen (November 2001).  Less bite in the kiss.

Herod (Ole Hedegaard) as an old buffer in his vices' grip and Herodias (diva Lone Koppel- 40th anniversary next week) as a depraved relic of a man-eater with mechanical flirting - strong and hysterical at the same time – make a unique couple.    (Kjeld Christoffersen) mpresses with his pressive baritone.  Michael Schoenwandt conducts Strauss with a great precision and the main orchestral passages are highlights in the performance.

In this present and almost perfect work of art, Salome is not killed by the soldiers' shields - the page kills her with the dagger by which Narraboth committed suicide.

Though a great performance, this opera would have benefitted from a bigger stage.

v      Peter Hyldekjær is Librarian of Denmark's International Study Programme.

2.  Salomé in Ghent

by Eva Thienpont

"Grensbewoners" is a project set up by Publiekstheater/Arca in order to provide young directors with a platform for their experimental productions.  The first performance in this series was Oscar Wilde’s Salomé as interpreted by Gil Renders.  The cast assembled at Arca were all of them amateur actors, and the performance did not really benefit from their lack of professionalism.  The budget was very tight, and this showed in the absence of a unified costume design and scenery.  Nevertheless, the director's vision lent an undeniable interest to the performance.  A bath tub and a duplicated princess are the most striking trademarks of Renders' Salomé.

Renders has, like so many directors, not been able to resist the temptation of changing the text of the play she is presenting.  With a cast of six actors, she has got rid of all those among Herod's courtiers who are not necessary to the three intersecting love stories in the play.  She retains the Page, the Young Syrian, Iokanaan, Herod and Salomé (x2).

The main question that arises when one watches Renders' Salomé is why she cut Herodias.  Leaving out the Queen of Judea is, it can be argued, not necessarily an improvement to the text.  For one, Renders reassigns some of Herodias' lines to Herod and Salomé, which unfortunately creates an inconsistency of characterisation.  Her Herod claims not to believe in miracles because he has seen too many - a claim characteristic of his down-to-earth queen, but strangely incongruent with the Tetrarch's awareness of portents and his anxiety at the news that Christ raises the dead.

Herod is the main victim of Herodias' disappearance, because with her an important dimension to his rich character is lost.  The audience does not find out that Herod is the son of a camel-driver and has by intrigue and murder won his throne.  Renders' Herod is not an ambitious winner who takes it all, but rather a softened version of the self-indulgent ruler.

One would expect Salomé to benefit from her mother's disappearance, as Renders has apparently cut the queen in order to have two actresses to play the princess, an idea that is not uninteresting in itself.  Unfortunately, the duplication of Salomé is the most disappointing of Renders' interventions.  One Salomé speaks the part, whereas the second remains mute.  There is a hint at the fact that the second Salomé might express the feelings of the first through movement, but the duplicity is not exploited as one would expect of so drastic an intervention.  Besides no-one can disclaim that Wilde’s Salomé is pretty eloquent in voicing her feelings, so that a mute princess does not add anything to the strength or clarity of her expression.

Also not an improvement to the play – and rather puzzling, too - is the fact that Renders mixes the lines of the Page and the Young Syrian.  In her production, both seem to be in love with Salomé: both praise her beauty as she takes a bath, and both are appealed to when Salomé wants to see Iokanaan.  The prophet himself, by the way, is also part of the princess's admirers at the beginning of the play, which suggests that Renders wants to present a Salomé who mesmerises simply everybody.  Unfortunately though, this makes the Page's repeated and poignant warnings lose their power as he is himself part of the very act of gazing the danger of which he points out to his friend.  And, sadly, the Page's wonderful lament at the suicide of the Syrian becomes rather incomprehensible as it comes rather out of the blue.

A final important change to the text is that Renders makes the play end at its moving climax, Salomé's passionate speech to Iokanaan's severed head.  Herod's reaction to her words goes unrecorded, and the Tetrarch is also denied his violent curtain line.  Salomé stays alive, and the audience leaves the theatre with her reflection on the bitter taste of love resounding in their heads.  Because Herod remains speechless, there is also the feeling that the little princess has triumphed over a king who has been foolish enough to swear an oath to her.

Despite the fact that her textual changes are of varying success, Renders' production is highly interesting from a visual point of view.  Simplicity rules in Salomé's Dance of the Seven Veils.  Music sounds, but there is no dance (nor, for that matter, a veil) to be seen.  Instead, the two princesses remain motionless, one peering coyly over the other's shoulder.  This approach to the dance is all the more striking because Renders claims to be much influenced by American postmodern dancing.

Also interesting is the young director's visualisation of Iokanaan's prison.  The cistern, at the right side of the bare stage, is suggested by a rectangular glass screen which creates the effect of light falling into the depth of a pit.  It isolates the prophet from the other characters, while its transparency at the same time keeps him visibly present.  The screen also has a microphone attached to it to help Iokanaan's voice dominate the stage.

Renders' most laudable and definitely striking innovation is her introduction on the stage of an old-fashioned white enamel bathtub.  The tub, filled with milky white water, gradually becomes associated with both life and death.  At the beginning of the play, Salomé (x2 )emerges from it, watched by the Page, the Syrian and Iokanaan, a scene which introduces the voyeurism so strongly present in the text.  Subsequently, the Young Syrian commits suicide not by stabbing himself with his sword but by drowning himself in the bath, establishing the death link.  On the contrary, when Herod appears on stage he proposes a toast to Life, and all fill their cups with water from the tub.

Truly magnificent is the way in which Renders stages the decapitation of Iokanaan.  The actor climbs into the tub and immerses himself in the white water in such a way that only his head remains visible.  It is certainly a highly original and aesthetic way to visualise the severed head, and there is no need to produce a fake head as is usually done.

Despite its flaws, Gil Renders' production of Salomé at Arca did not fail to impress.  The performance reached a chilling climax at the death of Iokanaan, and produced several startling visual effects even though working with limited means.  It is to be hoped that Renders will one day find the opportunity to produce another Salomé with a professional cast and a more lavish budget - it will certainly be worthwhile.

v      Eva Thienpont's article '"To Play Gracefully with Ideas": Oscar Wilde’s Personal Platonism  in Poetics' appears in the current issue of The Wildean


Sara Van Boxstael


Marijke Blancquaert


Johan Verlinden


Wouter De Backer

de Jonge Syriër

Manoe Frateur

de Page

Daniël Janssens 


Gil Renders


08/02/2002 and 09/02/2002 at Publiekstheater/Arca, Ghent (Belgium)

21/02/2002 at Kunstencentrum Netwerk, Aalst (Belgium)

3.  Salome in Honolulu

by Patricia Gillespie and Sam Polson

Anyone attending a Hawai'i Opera Theatre production can go expecting to see a spectacular event.  The recent production of Strauss's Salome based on Oscar Wilde’s play was such an event.  Since my long-time friend and editor of THE OSCHOLARS David Rose, asked us to review this production, my husband and I had the honor to attend a final dress rehearsal.  Now we are neither opera experts nor Wilde scholars.  However, since we are what you might call 'theatre people' and since the small experimental theatre we are associated with just did Gross Indecency, I suppose we might possibly qualify as reviewers.  So taking a purely theatrical approach, we found this production very creative and also intriguing.

I am familiar with the story of Salome although I have never seen a production of the opera or Wilde’s play.  Speaking with more qualified 'opera critics', I learned that HOT’s production is a very different approach to the ever-controversial Salome.  Most stagings of the opera tend to lean more toward the dark side.  But HOT's artistic director, Henry Akina, decided that since this was a Hawaiian production, he would 'turn the tables'- as he explained to me - and incorporate bright and lively colors into this production.  'Turn the tables' he certainly has done, for the costumes and set, designed by illustrator Thomas Woodruff were bright, colorful and certainly controversial although not really of any definite period.  Salome made her entrance in a stunning white cloak that fell from her shoulders to reveal a bright red dress.   I was waiting for the famous dance of the seven veils, but once again a different approach was taken from the traditional.  Salome peeled off her clothes, as she danced with two hand mirrors, symbolically stripping away at her multiple personalities.

The set incorporated a gigantic spider's web that draped the proscenium adorned with moths and silver balls symbolic, I suppose, of the web that Salome wove for herself.  Since HOT does not have an elevator in their stage floor, the cistern where John the Baptist was jailed was above the stage.  The top of the cistern was lit like a beacon and opened up for John's entrance.

Overall, the acting was as strong as the singing.  Kristine Ciesinski, the very attractive soprano who played Salome had a powerful voice and kept the audience intrigued with her wanton ways.  Her performance was especially impressive since she had the gruelling job of performing on-stage for most of the two-hour, no-intermission, performance.  Equally impressive was Kenneth Riegel, the tenor who sang the part of Herod, the lecherous stepfather.  He had an incredibly rich voice.  And David A.  Okerlund, the baritone was appropriately self-righteous as John the Baptist.  Herodias, Salome's mother, played by Ruthild Engert, gave a convincing performance as evil personified.  The Jewish officials were all played by local singers, and all with equally strong voices which certainly confirms the abundance of talent we have in the islands.  The HOT orchestra under the direction of Ivan Torsz gave a first-class reading of the Strauss score, complete with its full range of dynamic, crashing crescendos.  Since the opera was being performed in its original German, HOT flashed English translations (which read very closely to the Wilde’s script) above the stage.  This feature was greatly appreciated by opera novices such as ourselves and rounded out an exciting evening of dramatic performances.

Performances were 15th, 17th & 19th February

v      Patricia Gillespie is a teacher of Video Production at a school for Native Hawaiians in Honolulu.  She is also on the board of The Actor's Group, a small experimental theatre group.  Sam Polson is a retired journalist, and presently an actor in Honolulu.  He is also on the TAG board, writes jazz reviews for a mainland newspaper and plays the part of Robert E. Lee in a an original show called We Meet at Appomattox.  Sam and Patricia are producing a documentary about Betty Loo Taylor, the first Lady of Jazz in Honolulu.


1.  Film

Here is further news of the film of The Importance of being Earnest: it is now scheduled for release on the 24th May in Los Angeles and New York; and in American other cities later.  The distributor is Miramax Films

Readers are referred to Karen Rosenberg's well-illustrated and very informative website

Information can also be found at

2.  Exhibitions

a. Yinka Shonibare

Yinka Shonibare's series of photographs 'Diary of a Victorian Dandy' continue in the exhibition of Mr Shonibare's work at The Studio Museum, Harlem, New York, until 31st March.  The Studio Museum in Harlem is located at 144 West 125th Street, between Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard and Lenox Avenue, as recorded in greater detail in last month's issue of THE OSCHOLARS.

b. Impressionists

Until 14th April, the National Gallery of Ireland is celebrating the opening of its new Millennium Wing with an exhibition 'Monet, Renoir and the Impressionist Landscape'.  Visitors will have a unique opportunity to see 69 masterpieces drawn from the great collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, in Boston.  'Monet, Renoir and the Impressionist Landscape' traces the roots of Impressionism through the art of Corot and the Barbizon School and takes us as far as the Post-Impressionist landscapes of Paul Gauguin and Vincent van Gogh.  Among the Impressionists paintings are thirteen works by Claude Monet, as well as masterworks by Alfred Sisley, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and Camille Pissarro.

'Van Gogh & Gauguin' is the new exhibition at the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, while another Impressionist exhibition is 'Belle-Ile: Monet, Russell and Matisse in Brittany' at the Queensland Gallery of Art, Brisbane.  The Russell in question is John Peter Russell, who spent many years inParis at the time when Wilde (and Charles Conder) were living there.

c. ‘Phil May (1864-1903):Victorian Illustrator’.

City Art Gallery, York, England. Until 17th March.

Phil May was one of the leading Victorian "black-and white" artists, famous for his illustrations in The Graphic and Punch.  This display is selected from the Gallery's Tillotson Hyde collection.

Open daily 10.00-17.00.  Admission free to York residents; visitors £2.00 (concessions £1.50).  01904 - 551 861

d. ‘The Kelmscott Press at Bryn Mawr’.

26th March - 2nd June

William Morris established the Kelmscott Press in the 1880s as a reactionagainst the poor quality of late 19th century printing, and to set a standard for quality in layout and design, materials and technique.  This exhibition will draw upon Bryn Mawr's extensive collection of Kelmscott Press books to explore the history of the Kelmscott Press in the context of Victorian England.  It will also examine the procedures and techniques of "building" a Kelmscott Press book, from woodcuts by Edward Burne-Jones and the development of Morris's decorative letters, to the physical layout of the book itself.

The exhibition is mounted in the Class of 1912 Rare Book Room, Mariam Coffin Canaday Library, Bryn Mawr College, Bryn Mawr, PA.

The exhibition is open 9:00 am to 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday, or by special arrangement.

3.  Talks

The Sidney D.  Gamble Lecture series for 2001-2002 will explore a wide range of Arts and Crafts themes for those in the Pasadena, California area.

Wednesday 20th March 7:30 pm: Jo Hormuth: ‘Creating the "Craftsman" Style Interiors at Crab Tree Farm'.

Reservations in advance are recommended, as space is limited.  For more information, please contact the Gamble House directly at 4 Westmoreland Place, Pasadena, CA 91103.  Tel: 626/ 793-3334.  Fax: 626/577-7547. 

Saturday 23rd March, 2.15 p.m: JimGunton: 'William Morris and his Music'.

A musically illustrated talk on aspects of William Morris and his circle's dealings with music.  Given by Jim Gunton, a jazz musician with wide musical interests, who will use examples from his own extensive record collection.  This will be an informal occasion including our celebration - with wine and cake - of William Morris's birthday.

Tuesday 26th March 4:30 p.m, Carpenter Library 21, Bryn Mawr.

Lecture by William S.  Peterson (University of Maryland) 'The Kelmscott Chaucer: Pocket Cathedral or Nonbook?'

William S. Peterson is Professor of English at the University of Maryland and the author or editor of thirteen books, including The Ideal Book: Essays and lectures on the arts of the book by William Morris (1982), A Bibliography of the Kelmscott Press (1984), and The Kelmscott Press: A history of William Morris's typographical adventure (1991)

Victorian Society events for March.  Please check with the Society for availability of places.

The Victorian Society, 1 Priory Gardens, Bedford Park, London W4 1TT, England.  Telephone 020 8994 1019 Facsimile 020 8747 5899.  E-mail:  (If you write and would like a reply, please include a stamped, addressed envelope.)

Saturday 2nd March 2.00 pm: Churches in St Marylebone

Led by Anthony Symondson, visiting St Cyprian, Clarence Gate, a magnificent church by J.N. Comper, 1901-3, St James, Spanish Place and possibly The Annunciation, Old Quebec Street.  Meet at St Cyprian, Clarence Gate, NW1.  Nearest Tube: Baker Street.  £6,  payable on the day (please bring correct money).

Wednesday 6th March 6.30 pm: The Victoria Memorial and Imperial London

Lecture by Steven Brindle

Plans for the Victoria Memorial, the national memorial to the Queen in front of Buckingham Palace, were begun in 1901, but the scheme was not finished until 1913: the project thus spans the whole Edwardian period.   Steven Brindle is an historian at English Heritage.

Art Workers' Guild, 6 Queen Square, London WC1.  £6.

Saturday 9th March 2.00 pm: Harrow School

Harrow's charter goes back to 1572 followed by much building in 1608-15.  In the nineteenth century its size was doubled by Cockerell in 1819, the chapel was added by Scott in 1854-7, the Vaughan Library was built in 1861-3 and the Speech House was the work of Burges in 1874-7.  Then came work by Champneys and E.S.  Prior.  Two-hour guided tour of this great public school and its important architecture.  £10 + SAE.

Tuesday 12th March: The Ritz Hotel, Piccadilly

A morning visit to Mewès & Davis' great hotel (1903-6) -'the first arrival of Edwardian classicism in the streets of London and also one of the capital's first major steel frame buildings' (Alastair Service), looking at its brilliant interiors which culminate in the dinin groom overlooking Green Park.  £6 + SAE  (numbers limited).  Dress code: jackets and ties, no jeans or trainers.

Tuesday 19th March 6.30 pm: Methodist Central Hall, Westminster

A visit to this important building by Lanchester & Rickards, 1905-11, led by Simon Ablett of Richard Griffiths Architects, to look at the architecture and to discuss the proposed major refurbishment programme, with a historical commentary by Chris Miele.  Meet at Central Hall, Storey's Gate, SW1.  £6, payable on the day (please bring correct money).

4.  Conferences

The Midwest Modern Language Association will hold its annual conventionat the Minneapolis Marriot City Center, 8th to 10th November.

a. Pre-Raphaelite Study Weekend

15th to 17th March:, Chester, England

A weekend packed with lectures and tours of the Lady Lever Art Gallery (Port Sunlight), Walker Art Gallery (Liverpool) and Sudley Art Gallery (Mossley Hill).

Further details from Adrian Sumner, Arts Development Officer, Chester City Council: 01244-348-365.

b. Re-writing Irish Histories'

The Commonwealth Fund Lecture and Colloquium in American History and the Neale Lecture and Colloquium in British History at University College, London.

A three-day conference on ‘Re-writing Irish Histories'.  The aim is to reflect on Irish history writing and on the myriad connections between Irish, British, US and imperial histories.  In a period when so many changes have taken place in the writing of histories - from new concerns with the construction of nations, to questions of gender, cultural identity and diaspora, and to the multiple crossings across nations and empires – it seems timely to consider how this work has impacted on Irish history writing.  What implications does it present for thinking about the related histories of Britain, Ireland, the United States and the erstwhile British Empire?  The scope of the subject-matter and the academic interests of the participants already involved promise that this conference will be a stimulating one.

There will be two keynote addresses.  Professor Roy Foster of Hertford College Oxford will deliver the Neale Lecture on Thursday 4th April and Professor Nicholas Canny of the National University of Ireland, Galway will deliver the Commonwealth Fund Lecture on Friday 5th April.  We have other distinguished speakers from Ireland, the US, and Britain.  We have tried to invite speakers who are working in different areas and are at different stages of their research.  The panels take up questions of the Irish diaspora, the 'racing' of the Irish, working-class identities and comparative history writing in moments of great change.


The programme and a registration form are available on the Conference Website.  Please register early if you are interested as places are limited.

Miss Nazneen Razwi, Department of History, UCL, Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BT.


Visit the Conference website at

c. International Symposium for Directors

The third Annual International Symposium for Directors will take place on 11th to 29th July (plus special Pre-Symposium Workshop, 3rd to 10th July) at La Ma Ma Umbria International, Spoleto, Italy.

The International Symposium for Directors, sponsored by La Ma Ma Umbria is a unique 18-day training programme for professional directors, choreographers and actors.  Internationally renowned theatre artists will conduct workshops and lecture/demonstrations.  A Pre-Symposium Workshop in Théâtre D'Images provides an additional 8 days of training.  All workshops are conducted in English.

The Symposium includes all workshops, accommodations at La Ma Ma Umbria, Ellen Stewart's restored villa in the hills near Spoleto, home-cooked and restaurant meals, performances at the Spoleto Festival and Todi Festival, excursions to Assisi, Orvieto, Perugia, and an opportunity to present your own workshop.


Yuri Lyubimov (Russia) - legendary theatreand opera director; artistic director of famous Tangaka Theatre.

Françoise Gründ (France) -director, scenographer, writer, professor; teacher of Théâtre d'Images workshop.

Jean-Guy Lecat (France) - expert on theatrical space; with Peter Brook for 25 years; will lead us on an exploration of theatre spaces around Umbria.

Ola Mafalaani (Syria/The Netherlands)- wunderkind director; will present workshop on her form of visual theatre that is creating  a sensation in Europe.

Vladia Smocek (Czech Republic) - director, playwright, teacher; will emphasize the director/playwright collaboration.

Vito Taufer (Slovenia) - postmodern director of last season's masterpiece, Silence, Silence, Silence.

plus others to be announced.

Space is limited.  For additional information contact: David Diamond, Symposium Coordinator or LaMaMa ETC, 74A East 4th Street, New York, NY  10003.

Latest information and registration form available at  Click on Umbria.

For a personal perspective on the International Symposium for Directors, please read Space and Synchronicity by Rebecca Engle in American Theatre Magazine, January 2002 issue, available from Theatre Communications Group,

d. Culture Institutions

The Leeds Centre for Victorian Studies colloquium, Culture Institutions, will be held on Saturday 16th March.  For those unable to attend, but interested in the topic, note that a selection of the papers will be published as volume 5 of the Leeds Working Papers in Victorian Studies and available for purchase after the colloquium (register an interest with Julia De Dominicis

10.00-10.30.  Registration and Coffee

10.30-11.30. Anne Rodrick (Wofford): '''A Lever by Which We May Help to Raise the World": Culture and the Formation of Victorian Identity'

11.35-12.20.  Session A: Leadership and Power

Gordon Fyfe (Keele): 'On the Impersonalisation of Cultural Power: Aspects of Victorian Art Institutions'

Bob Duckett (Bradford Central Library): 'From Amateurs to Professionals: Cultural Leadership in Worstedopolis'

12.25-1.10.  Session A: Rational Culture

Robert Snape (Central Lancs): 'The Preston Acropolis: a Victorian cultural citadel'

Jane Wood (Leeds): 'The Cultural Significance of the Conversazione'

12.25-1.10 Session B: Entrepreneurs of Culture

Richard Pearson (Worcester): 'A.H.Layard: Bringing Nineveh to the West (End)'

Keith Manley (IHR): 'Books and Bricks: John Passmore Edwards and Other Public Library Benefactors'

1.10 - 2.10.  Lunch

2.10-2.55.  Session A: Scientific Culture

Jonathan Reinarz (Birmingham): 'From Curios to Pathological Collections: The Making of the Modern Medical Museum’

Martin Willis (Worcester): 'Behind Closed Doors: Creating Cultures of Professional Science in the 1890s'

2.10-2.55.  Session B: Nonconformity and Culture

Ruth Clayton (St Deiniol's Library): 'Gladstone's Library and the Cultural Organization of Knowledge'

Aileen Black (Dundee): 'The Gospel ofLiterature: the promotion  of culture in a Scottish Dissenting Church'

3.00-3.45.  Session A: Disciplining Culture

Kate Hill (Lincoln): 'Victorian Museums.  Disciplinary Spaces'

Jane Moody (York): 'The Censors of Victorian Theatre'

3.00-3.45.  Session B: Cultural Institutions

Michelle Johansen (Bishopsgate Institute): 'The Lofty and the Mundane: Libraries as Culture Institutions in London, c.1890-1910'

Lorene Birden (Nevers): 'Sentenced Through Hanging: Official Art and the Academy as Tools for Sakian Satire'

3.45-4.15  Tea

4.15-5.15.  Peter Mandler (Cambridge): 'The Political Economy of Art'

Registration: contact Julia De Dominicis, Trinity and  All Saints, Brownberrie Lane, Horsforth, Leeds, LS185HD by 9th March.

e. The 'Avant-Garde' again

Below is the final programme for the forthcoming conference on the avant-garde at Bristol, already announced.  The information is also available via the homepage of the University of Bristol French Department

Please e-mail directly if you have any queries to Richard Hobbs

A weekend conference organised by the Bristol Centre for the Study of Visual and Literary Cultures in France 23rd to 24th March 2002.  Venue - Burwalls, University of Bristol

This interdisciplinary conference will revisit and reassess the French avant-garde from the Romantic era to Surrealism.  Visual and literary versions of avant-gardism will be brought together historically and through theory.  The period 1880-1920 will be highlighted, but the time-scale will run from David to de Kooning.  Papers will address forms of the avant-garde, including its gendering, and figures such as Champfleury, Baudelaire, George Moore, Zola, Cézanne, Apollinaire.  In addition to papers, there will be ample opportunity for open discussion.


Saturday 23rd March


10.30 John House (Courtauld Institute of Art): 'Historicising the avant-garde'

11.45-1.00 Ed Lilley (University of Bristol): 'Jacques-Louis David and the mirror of modernity'

Jon Leaver (University of Bristol): '"Sorcellerie évocatoire": why Baudelaire might have been interested in Eliphas Lévi despite himself'

2.15-3.30  Richard Hobbs (University of Bristol): 'Eccentricity according to Champfleury'

Anna Gruetzner Robins (University of Reading): 'George Moore and Modern Painting'

4.00-5.15 David Cottington (Falmouth College of Arts): 'The formation of the Paris avant-garde 1880-1914'

Gill Perry (Open University): 'Gendered avant-gardes? Women's practice and the spaces of modernism c.1905-c1920'


Sunday 24th March

9.30 Richard Shiff (University ofTexas at Austin): 'From Cézanne to de Kooning: a reluctant avant-garde'

11.00-12.15 Jon Kear (University of Kent): '"Tales from the woods": narrative and description in the landscape imagery of Zola and Cézanne'

Paul Smith (University of Bristol): 'Poldex: or what makes Cézanne's Art Modern'

2.00-3.15 Amna Malik (Slade Schoolof Art): 'Spontaneity and the Surrealist image'

Adrian Hicken (Bath Spa University College): 'Apollinaire prémonitoire: surreality and medical discourse within the Parisian avant-garde'

3.45-5.0 Fred Orton (University of Leeds): 'Rimbaud's "Je est un autre" and Johns' catenary curve'.

Final discussion and end of conference.


Closing date for registration: Wednesday 13th March

Richard Hobbs, Department of French, University of Bristol, 19 Woodland Road, Bristol BS8 1TE.  Fax 0117 928 8922

f. International Association of Theatre Critics - Training Seminars

The last seminar took place in St. Petersburg, Russia, in October 2001.  The next seminars will be held in Stockholm (Sweden), in May, and in Almada (Portugal), in July 2002.

Contact the Director of Training Seminars, Maria Helena Serôdio, for any information.

Ave Prof Reinaldo Santos - 13 - 8c, 2795 - 562 Carnaxide, Portugal.  Telephone + 351 214 182 233.  Fax + 351 214 176 845, e-mail:

g. British Association for Victorian Studies


Art History, Cultural Studies, History, Literary Studies, Theatre Studies

Founded in 2000, the aim of the Association'shall be the advancement and spreading of knowledge by the promotion ofthe study of the Victorian period and wider nineteenth century.'

This shall be achieved by disseminating information, printed or otherwise, raising funds, and liaising with other similar associations.


Annual Conference in Victorian Studies,with postgraduate attendance bursaries

Regular Newsletters, with information on conferencesand publications

Annual Directory each Summer, of Members and their research interests

Website, including notices of books

BAVS sponsorship of lectures

Annual Membership rates: £10 ordinary; £6 unwaged: and renewable each September.

Fees also included in Conference attendance.

For Membership Forms, please visit our websiteor contact Richard Pearson, BAVS Membership Secretary, Department of English & Drama, University College Worcester, Henwick Grove, Worcester, WR2 6AJ, UK (

The British Association for Victorian Studies Committee are: President: Professor Joanne Shattock; Secretary: Martin Hewitt; Treasurer: KarenSayer; Membership Secretary: Richard Pearson; Committee Members:Isobel Armstrong; Kate Newey; Brian Ingram; Student Member: Rachel Dickinson; Newsletter Editor: Emma Mason; Web Administrator: Leon Litvack; Liaison Officer: Michael Taylor

5.  Papers and Publications

a. Boèce

We welcome a new journal Boèce: Revue romande des sciences humaines, edited by Yannick-Marie Escher and published by Editions Saint-Augustin in Switzerland.  The first issue which has the dateline November 2001 is an Oscar Wilde special issue.  The articles are:

v      Pascal Aquien: Oscar Wilde et Friedrich Nietzsche,un rapprochment

v      Gabrielle Hanke-Knaus: La lecture de Salome d'Oscar Wilde par Richard Strauss

v      David Tacium: Le dandyisme chez Oscar Wilde

v      Yanick-Marie Escher: Un homme foudroyé

v      Dimiter Daphinoff: 'I am sorry my life is so marred and maimed by extrvagance'.  Toute la correspondance d'OscarWilde en un volume.

It is available from Editions Saint-Augustin, P.O.  Box 148, CH-1890 Saint-Maurice, Switzerland.

b. Books on line

The following texts have been placed on-line and can be reached viâ the links:

Allen, Grant: The Woman Who Did

Asquith. Margot: Margot Asquith, An Autobiography

§         (Oscholars will need no reminding that Margot Asquith is the Margot Tennant to whom Wilde dedicated The Star Child.  We reprint in the section 'And I? May I Say Nothing'? what Margot Asquith wrote about Wilde in More Memories.  London: Cassell 1933)

DeLaura, David J.: Hebrew and Hellene in Victorian England: Newman, Arnold, and Pater

Harrison, Antony H.: Christina Rossetti in Context

Henley, William E.: In Hospital

Landow, George P.: Ruskin.

Mendès, Catulle (1841-1909): George et Nonotte (1883)

Sawyer, Paul L.: Ruskin's Poetic Argument: The Design of the Major Works.

c. The Correspondence of Dante Gabriel Rossetti.

In March, Boydell & Brewer will begin publication of The Correspondence of Dante Gabriel Rossetti.  This is the late William H. Fredeman's monumental edition of the Correspondence, which has been in preparation for over 25 years and which was originally announced for publication by Cambridge University Press and then Chadwyck-Healey.

When publication is complete, the Correspondence will comprise nine volumes, divided into three distinct sets, representing different stagesin Rossetti's life.  March 2002 sees publication of the first two volumes, "The Formative Years", which cover the period 1835-1862.  In 2003 the next three  volumes, comprising "The Chelsea Years: Prelude to a Crisis" 1863-1872,  will appear.  And in 2004, the final four volumes, "The Last Decade (1873-1882): Kelmscott to Birchington" will appear.

The Rossetti Correspondence will be an immensely valuable resource for all students and researchers with interests including the art, literature and cultural thought of Victorian England.  It will be an important part of any academic or reference library supporting postgraduate research in nineteenth-century culture.

More information on the set, including details of this edition's key features, is available on the website

A leaflet, explaining details of pre-publication and standing order offers, is available from

Kristin Payne, Sales/Marketing Manager, Boydell & Brewer, 668 Mt. Hope Avenue, Rochester NY 14620.  Telephone: (585) 275-0419.  Fax: (585) 271-8778

d. The Swinburne Project.

John Walsh (Indiana University) announces the availability of a new online collection of the works of Algernon Charles Swinburne (1837-1909).  The collection is called "TheSwinburne Project" and is available at

The collection currently includes the first two volumes of prose works from the Bonchurch Edition of The Complete Works of Algernon Charles Swinburne and two volumes of poetry, Erechtheus, Swinburne'ssecond  classical drama, and Studies in Song, an importantlater collection.  While many works remain to be added to the collection, the material  currently available covers over one thousand pages of Swinburne's works.  We frequently update the collection with newly digitized texts.

More information about the project is available at the website.

6.  Broadcast

10th March Detroit Symphony Orchestra  Broadcast on 91.3 FM KVLU

Stefan Sanderling, conductor DeborahVoigt, soprano: 'Salome' - 'Dance of the Seven Veils' and 'Final Scene'

7.  Red House

The following disturbing news has been posted on the William Morris Society website, w.e.f. 22nd February.

Currently the future of Red House is very uncertain.  The Hollamby family, thecurrent owners, intend to sell it and, at the moment, there are negotiations underway to see whether it could be bought by the Red House Trust.  TheTrust was established to secure the long-term future of the House and particularlyits public access.  Partly because of the current uncertainty, it is not clear whether the House will open to the public this year.  If it does it will almost certainlybe the first full weekend of each month from May to October.  It is hoped to have a decision in March and further details are available at

Contact: Bob Allen, Friends of Red House, Dean's Office, University of Greenwich, Mansion Site, Avery Hill, Eltham, London SE9 2PQ, Tel.  020-8331-8138.


We hope these may attract Wildëans.  Any specific papers on Wilde will be noted in future issues of THE OSCHOLARS.

 « Hay sólo una cosa peor a que se hable de uno, que no se hable de uno »


1.  CALL FOR PAPERS: Japonaiserie at the Fin-de-Siècle

Proposed Special Session for the 2002 MLA in New York 27th to 30th December

Topics might include: The Mikado, Madame Butterfly, Madame Chrysanthemum, travel writing, Impressionism, Whistler, costumes, jewelry, etc at the fin-de-siècle.   Also interesting would be papers on the trade in Japanese objets d'art during this time (Liberty's, for example), or concerning collectors of Japanese objects (Freer, Havermeyer).  Send 500-word proposal and a brief cv by March 1st to Kay Chubbuck at PO Box 53, Princeton, NJ 08542 or to

Please note that my acceptance of your paper does not guarantee that the MLA will accept the special session, as only about 35% of special sessions are accepted.   In addition, all panelists for the special session must be members of the MLA in good standing by 1st April

This Call was only posted on 18th February, and we have remonstrated about the absurdly short timeframe.

2.  CALL FOR PAPERS: On the history of European pornography

Geographical focus: open to any nation or region within Europe Period: any time period within 1800-2000

In recent years, scholars have placed pornography within the mainstreamof emerging Western society.  Robert Darnton has established the overlap between Enlightenment thinkers and erotic pamphleteers.  Iain McCalman has shown that ardent revolutionaries in England used pornography as a way to delegitimize the British monarchy.  Malek Alloula has tied the erotic postcard to imperialism.  In spiteof these important studies, scholars have only begun to engage recent formsof pornography like photographs, ephemera, pulp fiction, magazines, film,and videos.

'The Refinement of Modern Pornography, 1800-2000' will rectify this omission.  The Refinement of Modern Pornography will bring together scholars to chart the myriad transformations and meanings of pornography in modern European society.  A top academic press has already committed to the project and five senior scholars from film studies, women's studies, literary and cultural studies, and history will be contributing essays.

Papers on a national pornographic tradition (Spanish, German, French), on a specific pornographic trope or theme (incest, fellatio, images of women), on an important period (such as Weimar Germany, Sweden in the 1960s),on an important text or group of texts (including literature, images, film), on individual pornographers or groups of pornographers, or on consumersof pornography would be welcome.   Studies of the history of pornographic film would be particularly useful.

Papers should be based on original, scholarly research and should be roughly 35-50 pages in length.  Abstracts and a short c.v.  or completed papers can be sent through email to: or through regular mail to

L. Sigel, Department of History, Depaul University, 3754 N. Bell, Chicago, IL 60618.

Queries, questions, or requests for fuller explanation of the projectcan be sent to:  Abstracts: 15th April.  Completed papers: 1st October.

Anyone for Teleny?  Smithers, anybody?

3.  CALL FOR PAPERS: Prose into Prose Poetry: Baudelaire and Poe

MLA 2002

Papers are invited for a proposed MLA panel on the influence of EdgarAllan Poe's narratives on the prose poems of Baudelaire.  There has been much critical work on the importance of Poe's poems and poetic theory to Baudelaire, the thematic resonances between Poe's stories and Baudelaire's poems, and the general significance and detailsof Baudelaire's translations of Poe's texts.  Departing from such points of focus, this panel would examine the neglected questionof the formal influence Poe's narratives had on Baudelaire's Petits Poemes en Prose.  Jonathan Culler (the first critic to suggest the centrality of such an influence) has argued that the prose poems contain a recurring 'literalization' of key words and figures from Poe's stories.  Papers might address this argument or consider other rhetorical moves or structural arrangements which show Baudelaire echoing Poe's prose.  Can any of the prose poems be considered partial 'rewritings' of narratives of Poe's?  Do they relate to any of Baudelaire's choices in translating Poe?  Can Poe's stories already be considered, taking into account his own poetic theory, 'prose poems'?  Ultimately, papers might consider the cultural and ideological implications of the formal influence of Poe's prose on Baudelaire.  Do Baudelaire's 'rewritings'of Poe hint at a misreading or at least at the underlying basis ofthe cultural adoption of Poe work as 'French'? Are there features of Poe's narratives which are 'misrepresented' or discarded within Baudelaire's rewritings and do such discarded elements relate to Poe's 'Americanness'?  Issues to be considered might include the structure of both writers' constructions of 'perversity,' of victimhood and aggression, of female figures, or their incorporation of mass cultural forms and use of geographical space.

Please send 1-2 page abstracts by 10th March to:

Catherine Toal, Emmanuel College, Cambridge CB2 3AP.  e-mail:

4.  CALL FOR PAPERS: Going Live: Media Events in the Nineteenth-Century

A proposal for the 2002 Modern Language Association convention in NYC, 27th to 30th December

Did the 'media event' exist before the advent of twentieth-century broadcast technologies? Towards a nineteenth-century genealogy of immediacy and collective experiences.  Technology, nationality, sensationalism, simultaneity, literature.

Please send proposals and brief vitae by 10th March to

Richard Menke, E-mail:  E-mail only, please

5.  CALL FOR PAPERS: Victorian Frauds

Proposed Special Session MLA New York, 27th to 30th December.

Papers on mercenary manipulations of any of the many Victorian economies  (domestic, political, moral, market, etc.); actual frauds (Sadleir, Tichborne, Redpath); bubbles.  Papers on Victorian cultural history are especially welcome.  1-2 page abstracts and brief vitae by 10th March to

Rebecca Stern  E-mail:

6.  CALL FOR PAPERS: Children's Literature.  'Open Topic'

We are interested in a variety of scholarly or pedagogical approachesto texts for children.

John McCombe, English, University of Dayton, 300 College Park, Dayton, OH 45469-1520.  E-mail:

7.  CALL FOR PAPERS: Masculinity and Propaganda

Masculinities are often crucial in creating the distortions and half-truths of propaganda: film, fiction, theatre, visual arts, and new media.

Terence Hartnett, English, Ballantine Hall 442, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47401.  E-mail:

8.  CALL FOR PAPERS: History of Literary Reception.  Historicizing Reception

History of reception of particular works, relationships between historyand reception, or history of reception itself.

Abstracts to Kimberly Nance,

9.  CALL FOR PAPERS: Illustrated Texts.  Illustration/Re-illustration/De-illustration

This session will explore what happens to texts when the illustrations are added, revised, or deleted.

Lynn A.  Casmier-Paz, English, University of Central Florida,  P.O.  Box 161346,  Orlando, FL 32816-1346.

10.  CALL FOR PAPERS: Emigration/Immigration in Irish Literature and Theatre

Representations of Emigration/Immigration's effect on the individual or society in Irish literature, all genres.  Historical and theoretical perspectives encouraged.

Mary Trotter, English, IUPUI, 25 University Boulevard, Indianapolis, IN 46202.

 11.  CALL FOR PAPERS:  Respect and Respectability; or the Symbolic Capital of Identity in Late-Victorian and Edwardian Literature

This panel invites papers that explore issues of identity through the coding of respect and respectability in late-Victorian and Edwardian literature.  In early and middle Victorian culture and society, the boundaries of identity are frequently measured by a variety of conceptions of respect and respectability.  However, by the end of the 19th century, the coding of respectability becomes much more problematic.   In many ways the literature of the late-Victorianand Edwardian periods explore the problems of social class identity through the breakdown of what it means to be respectable.  The question of how men and women of different classes garner and show respect, as away of marking and solidifying social identities, takes on a heightenedurgency within much of the literature of the period.

Please submit proposals of 500 words by 25th March via e-mail to Kevin Swafford, Assistant Professor of English, Bradley University.

12.  CALL FOR PAPERS: Panel: English Literature 1800-1900.  Nineteenth-Century Æsthetics and Imperialism'

Panel papers should explore how imperialism is implicated inand/or affects æsthetic changes and choices in literature in thenineteenth century, or how æsthetics may affect societal attitudestoward imperialism.

Imperial images in Romantic poetry/literature


Æsthetic changes throughout the nineteenth century and their relation to imperialism and/or international politics


Proliferation of adventure Novels


Poetic uses of imperialism


Imperial heroes in literature


Transgressive æsthetics and world politics


Women writing and imperialism  Rhetoric of imperialism  Imperialwar and literature

etc., etc.

Or any aspect which explores a relationship between imperialism and literary æsthetic changes and choices.

Send 250 word abstract preferably via e-mail to Cristina J. Thaut. or Department of English, 202 Andrews Hall, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE 68588-0333.  Deadline for abstracts: 1st April.

13.  CALL FOR PAPERS: Theatre and Material Culture

ASTR 2002 American Society for Theatre Research The Westin Hotel, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

In almost every culture theatre has developed as the most syncretic of the arts.  Drawing on music, painting, architecture, dance, puppetry, ritual, film, digital media, and literature, it has rarely been imagined,however, as a happy synthesis.  Rather, it has often been assigned a vexed and controversial position in culture.  Conceived as both a noble and a bastard art, it has routinely been accused of elevating or prostituting the different media upon which it draws.  What other art, after all, has as frequently been stamped legitimate or illegitimate? In what other vocation are professionals simultaneously worshipped and despised?  As a result of these contradictions, the disparate collections of practices and texts that pass as theatre have often been notoriously difficult to pigeonhole in cultural hierarchies.  At many times and in many places they have been imagined as a site of struggle between the high and low, the esoteric and popular, the sacred and profane, the moral and immoral, the commercial and the transcendent.

The theme of the 2002 ASTR conference is Theatre and Material Culture.  We seek papers that will address issues arising from theatre's materiality as a cultural practice.  What is its relationship to other cultural forms,to the other arts, and even to the sciences?  How has its status dependedon the structure of social, cultural, racial, sexual, and moral hierarchies?  How have market systems effected theatre's form and content?  To what extent have theatrical practices in different times and in different places functioned as commodities to be exchanged?  Or as practices that defy commodification?

Please submit abstracts of no more than 500 words by Friday, 15thMarch.  Full-length papers or longer abstracts will not be read or considered.

Send a hardcopy of the abstract to David Savran, Program Chair, Theatre and Material Culture Theatre Program, The Graduate Center City University of New York, 365 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10016-4309.

14.  CALL FOR PAPERS: Queer Bodies, Queer Spaces

Submissions are invited for the Gay and Lesbian Studies Session at the meeting of the South Atlantic Modern Language Association, Baltimore, 15th to 17th November.

We seek 20 minute papers addressing the theme of 'Queer Bodies, Queer Spaces'.  Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

queer embodiment, including drag, passing, style, desire, sex


queer intersections with race, class, ability


production of queer space(s)


queer (ing) notions of public/private/community


queer exhibits/exhibitions/exhibitionism; performance/performativity


queer(ing) history, popular culture, literature, film


queerness and the social body, body politic, bodies of knowledge

One page proposals should be sent (preferably via e-mail) by 31st Marchtoeither address, below.  Please include a statement regarding any equipmentrequests.

For information about the conference, hotel and travel details, see

Contact Jill Ehnenn, Department of English, Appalachian State University, Boone NC 28608

Or Robert McRuer, Department of English, The George Washington University, Washington, DC 20052

15.  CALL FOR PAPERS: Literature and Ethics

Annual Convention of the Pacific Ancient and Modern Language Association, Western Washington University - Bellingham, Washington 8th to 10th November.  Panel on "Literature and Ethics".

The topic is open.  Please submit a proposal of 250 words as well as a 50-word abstract via e-mail to by 25th March.

Presenters must be members of PAMLA.   See the PAMLA website:

Michael Householder, Department of English and Comparative Literature, University of California, Irvine.

16.  CALL FOR PAPERS: Any topic

The 24th Annual Warren Susman Graduate History Conference will takeplace on April 20, 2002.  The conference committee is currently accepting proposals for individual papers or complete panels of 3-4 papers,on any topic of historical interest, and welcomes multidisciplinary approaches.

For all proposals, please submit 2 copies of a one-page abstract, along with a CV; for panel proposals, please also include a one-page panel statement.  Submission deadline is 8th March.  Participants willbe notified by the 25th March.   Final papers will be due 10th April.

Send submissions to Susman Conference Committee, Department of History, Rutgers University, 16 Seminary Place, New Brunswick, NJ 08901.  fax (732) 932-6763

Inquiries?  Please contact Danielle McGuire, co-chair, at

Visit for detailed conference information as it becomes available.

17.  CALL FOR PAPERS: Women's Voices in Poetry

Rocky Mountain Modern Language Association, 10th to 13th October.

All papers that fall under this heading are welcome, though I am particularlyinterested in those that complicate the categories of "voice" and/or "women."  Papers need not address poems written by women only.  No biographies; papers focused on readings of poems, please.

Send 1-2 page abstract to the following address no later than 10th March.

Professor Kirstin Hotelling Zona, Dept. of English, Campus Box 4240, Illinois State University, Normal, IL 61790-4240.  E-mail submissions OK; no attachments.

18.  CALL FOR PAPERS: The American Journal of Print

The journal seeks articles, essays, interviews on all topics, provided they are explorations of the topics themselves and not personal essays about why you are interested in Topic A, B, C, and so on.

This is a relatively new journal (Volume One was released in May 2001), and editions are published sporadically (although the aim is quarterly).  Our  website has more information, and is updated with new content bi-weekly.  Please see

Previously published essays have explored: Mormonism, the History of Pneumatic Tubes in New York City, Scrabble Tournaments, Birdwatching, Clocks, Books about Women Pirates, Wind, Ball-point Pens, Blood Typing, &c.

Submissions may be made to:

For more information, write to: Scott Korb, Editor, The American Journal of

19.  CALL FOR PAPERS: LiteraryTexts and the Visual Arts

Seeking submissions for a proposed Special Session at the 2002 South Atlantic Modern Language Association Convention to be held in Baltimore,MD.

Literary Texts and the Visual Arts: Relations between written textsin literature and images in painting, film, sculpture, architecture, and other visual arts.  Examples include but are not limited to illuminated manuscripts, sculptures or graphic illustrations within texts, texts within films or paintings, interdependence between temporal narratives and spatial images.

Please submit abstract (maximum of 500 words) and brief academic biography by 31st March to

Isaiah Smithson, Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville.

20.  CALL FOR PAPERS: Collaboration

MLA 2002

This session will examine collaboration from theoretical and historical perspectives.  Presenters might critique theories of collaboration, collaborative cultural products, collaborationist strategies in literatureand culture, and collaborating literary and cultural figures.

Please send 250-word proposals to:

Carra Leah Hood, Assistant Professor of English, Southern Connecticut State University, 501 Crescent Street, New Haven, CT 06515203.  392.  6998.  E-mail:

The deadline for proposals is 15th March.

21.  CALL FOR PAPERS: The McNeese Review

The McNeese Review, published since 1948, serves as a forum for articles and essays in the arts, humanities, and social sciences.  The Review also publishes a limited amount of creative writing.  The editorial policy and reviewing processes of The McNeese Review are formulated and supervised by an editorial board comprised of faculty in the College of Liberal Arts at McNeese State University.

Articles and essays should be scholarly but also directed towards awide audience in the liberal arts.  Manuscripts, essays, and creative writing should be double-spaced, submitted in duplicate, and bear the author's name only on the cover letter.   Please include a self-addressed, stamped envelope if you would like your manuscript returned.

Address all submissions and correspondence to:

Scott Goins, Editor, The McNeese Review, McNeese State University, PO Box 93465, Lake Charles LA 70609-3465.  Inquiries by e-mail may be sent to:

22.  CALL FOR PAPERS: Trickster's Way

An on-line journal dedicated to trickster research.  It is a peer-reviewed publication which seeks to extend the scholarship about the trickster figure to its interdisciplinary and intellectual limits.  Although trickster, of course, will resist such cultural ambitions, this journal and the essays it publishes will try to respect the delicate balance between fixing trickster and killing trickster.  We wish to keep him/her alive and well and living in the shadow of our hearts.

We welcome essays, poetry, and art that consider the role and function of the trickster figure in relation to concerns that are semiotic, religious, mythic, literary, anthropological, psychological, social,political, ethnic, racial, economic, rhetorical, legal, cultural, or aesthetic in nature.  This is, of course, because Trickster's bag reflects his appetite and the objects of her interests; so it is natural the territory would be large.

We are especially interested in:

Essays that articulate the ways in which trickster has been used and manipulated to create, sustain, or protect particular cultural narratives and values.

Semiotic, ethnographic, and cross-cultural approaches to the uses of the trickster figure.


Essays with an innovative theoretical dimension, insightful synthesis of cultural differences and similarities, or driven by the ambivalent qualities of trickster.


Discussions of particular works of art or literature, music or film, video or photography, narrative or performance that address a cultural or social issue involving some aspects of the trickster figure.

Please check out the site for submission guidelines at the site listed below.

C. W. Spinks, Editor and Publisher, Dept. of English, Trinity University, 715 Stadium Drive, San Antonio, TX 78212, off: 210-999-7577; fax: 210-999-7578 e-mail


23.  CALL FOR PAPERS: NEW DEADLINE The Importance of Being Arthur Representations of Masculinity 1954-1963

Abstracts should be accompanied by a brief CV and submitted to the address below by 15th April.

See our previous announcement.

Lisa Hall, Conference Coordinator, School of English and Modern Languages, Roehampton University of Surrey, Roehampton Lane, London SW15 5PH Tel: 020 8392 3362 Fax: 020 8392 3146



24.  CALL FOR PAPERS: Scandals as Cultural Phenomenon

We regret we received notice of this too late for inclusion in the Februaryedition of THE OSCHOLARS.  We include it inthe hope that something so close to Wilde Studies may attract papers in an extended deadline.

This is a call for papers for members of ESSE (European Society for the  Study of English) for a section in this year's ESSE conference in   Strasbourg on 'Scandals' (30th August to 3rd September).

The seminar aims to explore the problem of scandals: What makes a scandal?  Who makes a scandal?  What types of scandal are there?  What are their dynamics, and what are their media?  What are, atdifferent points in history, the stakes - the perils and the benefits - in creating scandals, both for those who name and publish the scandal, and for those who are designated as scandalous?Rather than focusing on particular genres or periods, we arelooking forward to contributions that would allow us to sketch the rough outlines of a 'history of the conditions of possibility' of scandals.

Materials might include:

fictionalised accounts of (actual) scandals


literature or films either falling victim to scandal or  courting it for its market value


'enfants terribles' (from Byron to Quentin Tarantino)


literary debates on potentially scandalous canonical texts (from Shakespeare'sSonnets to Leaves of Grass).

Contributions are invited to address questions such as these and maydeal with all sorts of scandals, literary or other, old or new, famousor forgotten.20

Send proposals by 15th February to


in the form of a short synopsis (1 page or 350 words maximum), accompanied by a short biographical note.

A longer e-mail version (4 pages or 1400 words maximum) or the full paper (8 pages or 2800 words maximum) will be expected before 15th April, to be distributed in advance by each convener to the participants in theseminar.  Applicants will be informed by the conveners about  acceptanceof their papers before 15th May.

ESSE seminars are structured around a discussion of the papers' concerns and insights but the papers themselves will not be read out at the meeting.

Possibilities for publication may be considered.

Ingrid Hotz-Davies, Eberhard-Karls-Universität Tübingen, Wilhelmstr.  50  D--72074 Tübingen.

25.  CALL FOR PAPERS: Victorian Ireland (second call)

For a forthcoming Editor's Topic section on Victorian Ireland, the Journal, Victorian Literature and Culture, seeks papers dealing with any aspect of the literature and culture of the period, including diasporicIrish  literature and culture.

Send papers by 1st December, Abigail Burnham Bloom, 54 Riverside Drive, 15D New York, NY  10024



A fully refereed online journal of film studies edited by staff andresearch students at the University of Nottingham's Institute of Film Studies.  We are seeking conference reports of around 1000-1500 words to be included in forthcoming issues, particularly from the events listed below.  We also welcome reports from other film, media and cultural studies conferences.

Please send all submissions and queries to

Rayna Denison, Conference Reports Editor,

27.  CALL FOR PAPERS: Multicultural Dilemmas: Identity/Difference/Otherness

International Conference, Ustron, Poland, 25th to 28th September.

Multiculturalism / transculturalism - hybridity - theorizing difference- discourses of otherness - local identity / identityís locality- metropolis / postpolis - diaspora - virtual communities / terminal identity- (un)translatability of cultures - de/re/constructing subjectivities -responsibility for/of the other - terror of the margin - the same /theother / the third

The conference will be held in two language sections: Polish and English.Please send proposals of papers / workshops in either language with briefabstracts to the organizers:

Professor Wojciech Kalaga

Professor Tadeusz Rachwal

or by mail (diskette, Word 6.0/7.0 + hard copy) to:

Wojciech Kalaga, Institute of British and American Culture and Literature, ul. Zytnia 10, 41-205 Sosnowiec, Poland

Deadline for submissions: 30th May.

28.  CALL FOR PAPERS: Text and Illustration

A special panel at the annual convention of the Rocky Mountain Modern Language Asociation is Scottsdale, Arizona (October 2002) is looking forpresenters.  The subject is 'Text and Illustration', and we are lookingfor topics relating to the interplay between the written word and the visual image.  Please e-mail questions and abstracts to Lance Rubin at


« Hay sólo una cosapeor a que se hable de uno, que no se hable de uno »


1.  Wilkie Collins.

In our Wilde Calendar for September, we recorded Wilde’s attendance at Wilkie Collins' funeral in 1889.  We were curious why Wilde should have chosen to go - there is no reference to Collins in the Wilde Complete Letters or to Wilde in Collins's known letters, and nobody has written on any textual relationship between Wilde and Collins as far as either we or Paul Lewis, the authority on Collins, are aware.  Nor, Mr Lewis tells us, do all reports agree that Wilde was at the funeral, a curiosity in itself.

Mr Lewis adds 'The only other connection between them I know of is a reference in the biography of the writer Ouida written by Eileen Bigland, London 1950, which says "There was one occasion when Oscar Wilde - then editing a woman's paper - called upon her with Wilkie Collins in order to discuss the serialisation of one of her novels." (p.65).  I know of no evidence for this story.  This is the only mentionof Collins in any of the three Ouida biographies [and] places the meeting with Ouida at a time when he was virtually a recluse.  The story has always seemed unfeasible.'

Wilde probably knew of, though almost certainly did not see, Collins's The New Magdalen of 1873 (revived in 1875 and again in 1895), when Collins had put on the stage a woman with a past more startling than that of any of Wilde’s women.

Can anyone add to this?  Paul Lewis can be found at

2.  The Picture of Dorian Gray.

Nicholas Frankel (VirginiaCommonwealth University) writes 'You mention your search for discussions of the two published versions of The Picture of Dorian Gray.  I survey the most important textual differences between 1890 and 1891 versions in "Picturing Dorian Gray: Wilde’s Novel as A Work of Graphic Design," chapter 5 of my recent book Oscar Wilde’s Decorated Books (Universityof Michigan Press, 2000).  My work, which is strongly informed by recent editorial theory, follows up on that of the novel's two modern editors, Isobel Murray and Donald Lawler – indeed Lawler's An Inquiry into Oscar Wilde’s Revisions to The Picture of Dorian Gray is an excellent (if somewhat obscure) book, wholly concerned with the question you raise; and while I disagree with its conclusions, its material and methodology are invaluable.

There aren't just "the two versions" of Dorian Gray, by the way.  From a textual point of view, the unpublished typescript corrected by Stoddart, the novel's first editor, may be the most exciting text of all.  Lawler discusses it fairly extensively; I comment upon it in passing.'

3.  Thomas Bell: A Final Ring

No further information has been received about Thomas Hastie Bell (1901-1939), author of Oscar Wilde Without Whitewash or the whereabouts of the unpublished MS.  May we suggestthat this be taken up as a project?

4.  Colonel Isaacson

Has anyone ever reflected that some of Isaacson's hostility towards Wilde might have been occasioned by the description by Dorian Gray of Mr Isaacs?

5.  Sir Roger Casement

The historiographical record has all too rarely looked at the parellels between Wilde and Casement.  We believethat the two affairs are linked in constructions of homosexual identity, English treatment of transgressives inside the Establishment (especially if they are Irish), and issues of what constitutes scandal and how it is manufactured.  The two Calls for Papers published in this editionof THE OSCHOLARS,the one on frauds, the other on scandals, suggest a more sustained exploration than the one usually generated by polemic.

Recently attention has once again turned to the question of the authenticity of the 'Black Diaries', and these have been under scrutiny by a group of forensic scientists.  Their findings will be released at a Press Conference early in March, and coverage in the newspapers will doubtless follow with a greater or lesser degree of accuracy.

We are pleased to say the THE OSCHOLARS is privy to the information,and an assessment will be published here in the April edition by one of the proponents of the investigation.

6.  G.S. Street

Further to the note about Violet Hunt in the February issue of THE OSCHOLARS, Joseph Wiesenfarth (University of Wisconsin--Madison) has kindly sent in the following quotation from Douglas Goldring: South Lodge.  London: Constable, 1943, p.  187.

Up till 1936, or even later, Violet wenteagerly to all the parties to which she was invited and continued to entertain her friends to dinner at South Lodge.  On one occasion, shortly beforehis death, the aged G. S. Street - whose stories I admired enormously in my youth -was the guest of honour.  By that time I had got into thehabit of playing unofficial host for Violet and, at her request, acted butler and dispensed the drinks.  When we were left alone and I hadpassed him the port, Street began talking about Oscar Wilde who, as she was never tired of relating, had once proposed to our hostess.  Before we went upstairs Street suddenly turned on me his one effective eye - the other was hidden by a black shield - and said, with evident emotion: 'You know, what most people don't seem to realise is that Oscar was such a dear!'

It seemed to me the most illuminating remark about 'O. W.' that I had ever heard, although I had been told a good deal about him by Robbie Ross and others.

7.  Oscar Wilde and the British Museum

Now that the British Library has left the British Museum building, and the central area has become the Great Court, the old Panizzi Round Reading Room has itself become a rather soulless museum exhibit.  Here are displayed panels referring to the great and good who studied in the Reading Room, and a selection of their works is displayed in the bookcases.  It may not be widely appreciated that Wilde was issued a Reader's Ticket in 1879: we are told that it was later withdrawn, but not when or why.  The Wilde books here displayed (between those of Dennis Wheatley and Angus Wilson) are rather a mixum-gatherum:

John Wyse Jackson(ed.): Aristotle at Afternoon Tea;


A Gallimard edition of Dorian Gray, illustrated by Tony Ross;


Elderly and undistinguished Methuen editions of An Ideal Husband, Lord Arthur Savile's Crime and Intentions;


An elderly Methuen edition of De Profundis distinguished by its dust jacket, which bears the price 3/6d;


The Oxford World Classics paperback editions of Major Works, De Profundis/The Soul of Man/ Ballad of Reading Gaol (edited by Isobel Murray), The Importance of being Earnest and Other Plays (edited by PeterRaby) and Complete Poetry (edited by Isobel Murray);


The Penguin Classics edition of The CompleteShort Stories;


A Penguin edition of The Happy Prince;


The Penguin collection of aphorisms Nothingto Declare;


A Selected Letters;


The current Everyman edition;


An illustrated fairy tales, which, being open, did not disclose any publishing details.

8.  An Oscarious error?

In December 1891, Wilde wrote to Pierre Louÿs '[...] je vous attendrai à une heure chez Mignon pour déjeuner' (Hart-Davis p.306, Holland & Hart-Davis p.507).  But there was no restaurant of that name: there is a confusion betweenthe opera Mignon of Ambroise Thomas and the restaurant Bignon in the boulevard des Italiens (number 38).  The question is, was the mistake Wilde’s or that of Hart-Davis's transcriber?  The MS is Clark, so this small point can perhaps be checked by the next oscholar to use that collection.

We spotted this, not in Holland/Hart-Davisitself, to our shame, but in '"I Adore Paris", étude de "l'effet Oscar Wilde" à travers sa correspondence et du milieu artistique et littéraire parisien', an unpublished D.E.A.  thesis by Mathilde Mazau (Université de Caen).

9.  Dorothy Parker

John Cooper writes 'Re: the Dorothy Parker verse [THE OSCHOLARS II/2].  This is a minor correction and no criticism intended, especially as many sources have the same line: Impelled to make an epigram

I believe the correct line is: Impelled to try an epigram

The actual verse can be found in Sunset Gun, Parker's second volume of verse, published in May 1928.  The title was changed at the last minute from Songs For The Nearest Harmonica to the darker Sunset Gun, a reference to the cannon that is traditionally fired at the end of the day when the flag is lowered.

The line with "try" is also sourced at:'

10.  Arts and Crafts

Victor Margolin (University of Illinois, Chicago) writes ' I am putting together a collection of websites with images of craft and design objects, both 2D and 3D, primarily from the 18th to the 20th century but also including objects and images before that period.  I would be interested in any suggestions that you may have for sites, particularly those that have an extensive collection of images.'

Victor Margolin

11. The Western Wilde.

Colleen Platt writes in answer to Michael Hall 'In THE OSCHOLARS, you asked: "Do you remember a TV show -- a western -- that featured an Oscar character riding aroundin a stage coach?"  You may be thinking of a black-and-white TV episode of "Have Gun Will Travel" that featured Oscar.  There's also a more recent "Ned Blessing: My Life & Times" TV episode called "Oscar" that featured Stephen Fry in the role.  Both are set in the American West.'

Does anyone have more details of these programmes?

12.  The floral dance?

Annie Given reports (6th February):

'Seen in Magherafelt, Co L/Derry yesterday, in a florist's window, 6 green chrysanthemums in a plain vase.

Utterly decadent.

I shall pass by again tomorrow, hoping this was a play on flowers and that some subtle reference is developing.'

13.  Wallpaper

The following query was placed on the VICTORIA list, and is here reprinted by kind permission.

'I'm trying to identify the author of a passage quoted in 1902 by H. J. Jennings in Our Homes, and How to Beautify Them.  Describing "early Victorian" wall-papers, Jennings says that "a caustic writer said that 'their very patterns are pernicious, producing - unknownto the victim - irritation of the retina, confusion of the brain, vertigo, and nightmare'"(p.19).

'Does anyone recognize this description?  I've been trying to track it down in the locations you might expect, so far with no luck.'

Beth Sutton-Ramspeck

14.  Wilde dimensions.

John H. Bartlett writes

A non-scholarly but intriguing question.  I hope THE OSCHOLARS can help me with information and opinions into some research I am making into Wilde’s physical appearance for theatrical reasons.

First: Just how tall was he? All biographers refer to his height, calling him 'well-built, broad-shouldered' etc.  Joyce Bentley in The Importanceof Being Constance says he was six feet but I don't think anyone else is that specific.  He said in one of his late letters ordering nightshirts from Ross that he was six feet, but all the full-length photographs make him appear taller.  Six feet was not an uncommon stature in late Victorian London, and Wilde was noticeable by his height.  If he was only six feet, Bosie must have been minute; the photograph of them standing together atCromer shows Bosie to have been considerably shorter (an effect exacerbated in the play The Judas Kiss by casting the diminutive Tom Hollander as Bosie to Liam Neeson's Wilde; Liam Neeson, like Stephen Fry, is well over six feet).  Has anyone any information on their relative sizes?  Was his uncommon height more of an illusion than a fact?

He was apparently not particularly graceful (a fact which most impersonator s ignore, seduced by the famous cigarette-holding pictures).  Ross said his gait was elephantine. Does clumsiness tend to enhance or diminish one's apparent height? Could he have shrunk a bit from the depredations of prison and exile?

Secondly: Just what size were his feet?  In The Unrecorded Life of Oscar Wilde Rupert Croft-Cooke says categorically, but without giving a source, that he wore size 12 shoes (a fact that thrilled me as that is my size; the only time I have been glad of my big feet!), but somewhere in Ellmann's biography (I forget where) a contemporary refers to his 'small' feet.  I have pored over all the photographs that include his feet that I can find but have come to no definite conclusions (they look 'biggish' to me).  In the letter referred to above Wilde says his glove size is 8¼ (this is smaller than the modern average size 9).  He remarks that the ¼ is to allow for his hands being extra broad and that his new socks need to be only in proportion to a size 8 (infuriatingly imprecise!), hands and feet usually being in proportion.  Anyone have any ideas or information? I would be very grateful for any thoughts on the subject.

v      John H. Bartlett's Wilde play That Tiger Life was most recently performed at Castle Drogo, Devonshire, on the 29th July 2001.

15.  'Lesbian Lives'.

On 22nd to 24th February WERRC (Women's Education Research and Resource Centre, University College, Dublin) held its ninth 'Lesbian Lives' conference on the theme of  'Fear and Loving'.

We regret news of this did not reach us in time for inclusion in the February issue of THE OSCHOLARS.  Wehope that a future Lesbian Lives will attract the attention of somebody doing further work on Dorothy Wilde and anybody interested in this conference should contact

Katherine O' Donnell or Jennifer Morawiecki

We can say that all the undertakings of WERRC are exciting and challenging occasions.

16.  Notes towards an Iconography of Wilde.

Of the various manifestations that we have been recording, surely the most unusual must be Wilde as a tattoo.  This is inscribed upon Catherine Burr, who has kindly supplied the following background information, and has allowed us to reproduce the photograph.

Model: Catherine Burr

Tattooist: Erno Szabady, San Francisco, 1984

Photographer: the late George Myro, Associate Professor of Philosophy

Photo taken approximately 1985 on the University of California, Berkeley campus.

Catherine Burr became interested in Oscar Wilde in 1979 (when she was 22) after watching the Masterpiece Theater series Lillie starring Francesca Annis in the title role.  Peter Egan's work therein is still her favorite portrayal of the young Oscar, and his performance got her started on her "lifelong  romance"with our hero.  She currently owns approximately 35 books by or about Oscar and his circle.  Along with Aaron Burr, Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde are her two personal heroes and great sources of inspiration in life.

The tattoo is comprised of:

1) a Sphinx taken from an funerary sculpture photo with 'O.F.O'F.W.W.' inscribed thereon;


2) Mr.  Szabady's artistic rendering of a drawing in one of the biographies of Oscar's "House  Beautiful",  Tite Street, Chelsea;


3) Oscar himself, taken from one of the Sarony portraits; and


4) a broken heart that says 'Bosie'.

In our interpretation, Oscar is contemplating and/or caught betweenthe tensions of the Sphinx and her mysteries, the public and spiritual realms of art (symbolized by the House Beautiful) and holding on to a fragile, scarred love.

Ms Burr adds '...  at the time,I was attending Berkeley and George was my great friend.  He and Erno and I spent hours discussing the tattoo, and what it all meant.  We were all quite pleased with it, and I am gl ad that he is "always" with me.  Besides, as Oscar wrote:  "One should either wear a workof art, or be a work of art".  I'm certain he would enjoy it.  I showed my tattoo to Quentin Crisp once.  He said, "Mr. Steiger would havecalled you the Illustrated Woman".'

17.  Oscar in Popular Culture

William Topley, an English Country-Rocksinger, has a CD album out, recently featured as a Radio 2 Album of theWeek, called 'Feasting with Panthers'.

v      We are grateful to Jeff Fendall forthis reference.

Karen Alkalay-Gut (University of Tel Aviv) discusses Wilde in 'Literary Dialogues: Rock Music and Victorian Poetry', Poetics Today, Vol. 21, Number 1, Spring2000, 33-61

18.  Wilde as Unpopular Culture

Alice Kipling to Rudyard Kipling 18th March 1882:

'[...] I went to The Grange [...] and Phil's new adoration, Oscar Wilde was there - only at Supper luckily for he is a dish I love not, and I don't think you would either.  To look at he is like a bad copy of a bust of a very decadent Roman Emperor, roughly modelled in suet pudding.  I sat opposite him and could not make out what his lips reminded me of - they are exactly like the big brown slugs we used to hate so in the gardenat Forlorn Lodge.  He has a pleasant voice, spoiled by a very affected manner - and his black bow-tie - the floppy sort - would have made a goodsash for me.  He talked incessantly, and at any pause, Phil, who sat next to him, gasped "Oscar, tell us so and so" and set him off again.  He hardly looked at Margaret who was as beautiful and white as a fairytale, and took very little notice of Aunt Georgie.  Uncle Ned was unusually silent, and winced, I think, when Oscar addressed him as "Master".'[Lord Birkenhead: Rudyard Kipling.  London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson1978 p.106]

Uncle Ned = Edward Burne-Jones; Phil = Philip Burne-Jones; Margaret = Margaret Burne-Jones, who married J.W. Mackail; Aunt Georgie = Georgiana (Lady) Burne-Jones, née MacDonald, sister of the Kiplings' mother.

19.  Picked from the Platter

In THE OSCHOLARS II/2 we published the Call for Papers from the journal Partial Answers, published at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem.  We are very pleased to have received the following letter from the Editor:

Thank you for your welcome initiative.  We shall be certainly very glad to receive material on Wilde and will proceed to inform you ofany contributions that might be of interest to you.

We also look forward to any opportunities that might arise towards a fruitful collaboration

Sincere thanks

Ruben Borg

TOSOS stands for The Other Side of Silence.  It was the name of the first professional gay theatre company in New York City, founded in 1974 by playwright Doric Wilson.  We are very grateful for Mr Wilson for kindly recommending THE OSCHOLARS to the readers on his mailing list.  This has already brought us newreaders from the theatre world.


As we have headed this section with Wilde’s reference to the music of Dvorák, we thought that we should explore the reference further.  'Poor Wilde in his search for the "curiously coloured,scarlet music" that his soul desired, could find nothing better than the piano pieces of Dvorák' wrote Constant Lambert [Constant Lambert: Music Ho! London: Faber & Faber 1934 p.49].  Lambert, who wrote the music for the 1929 Cambridge Festival production of Salome, produced by Terence Gray and choreographed by Ninette de Valois, is in fact misquoting Wilde who refers (The Critic as Artist) to 'mad, scarlet music' and to 'passionate, curiously-coloured things'.  The critic James Agate wrote that 'No person with any knowledge of music could have written this' [quoted unsourced by William Freeman: The Lifeof Lord Alfred Douglas, Spoilt Child of Genius.  London: Herbert Joseph1948 p.74].

Jan Smaczny (Queen's University, Belfast)writes

I was aware of this description of Dvorák's music.  The composer had very considerable currency in England from the mid 1880s onwards.  He visited London and various other centres including Birmingham, Worcester, Leeds and Cambridge.  Dvorák's seventh symphony was composed for the Philhamonic Society of which he became an honorary member in 1884.  He also conducted the première of his second cello concerto at a Philharmonic Society concert in London on 19 March 1896 during his last visit to England.  A major focus of interest in the composer in this country was his choral music (three works, The Spectre's Bride, St Ludmila and the Requiem Mass were written for English choral festivals).  Much of his piano music was also widely available, though mainly in editions published in Germany.  Attractive, intriguing and often inspiring though his keyboard music is, I have never thought of it, apart from a few pieces that were not published in Dvorák's lifetime and cannot have been known to Wilde either mad or scarlet.

Here are the occasions when Dvorák appeared on the concert platform in London (dates kindly supplied by Professor Smaczny):

Stabat Mater at the Royal Albert Hall 13th March 1884;


Scherzo capriccioso and Nocturne for strings at the Crystal Palace 22nd March 1884;


Piano concerto at a Philharmonic Society concert in London 26th May 1885;


Cantata, The Heirs of the White Mountain, in London 13th May 1885;


St Ludmila at St James's Hall in London 29th October 1886;


St Ludmila at the Crystal Palace, London 6th November 1886;


G major symphony at a Philharmonic Society concert in London 24th April 1890;


B minor 'Cello concerto at a Philharmonic Society in London (last visit), 19th March 1896.

There seems to be no reason why Wilde should not have attended any of these except the last (although Sydenham was rather off his usual routes), but the possibility is that Wilde was merely fantasising what music would be like when written by a Czech (perhaps described as Bohemian) composer.  There is no reference to Dvorák in Holland & Hart-Davis.  As always, readers with further information are invited to contribute.

This month we look at The Happy Prince.

This has been set to music by Eric W. Haynes,but apart from the fact that Mr Haynes is Canadian, we know no more; and by Liza Lehmann, published by Chappell in 1907.

In 1914 G. Schirmer of New York and London published it as The Golden Prince by Henry Hadley op.69.  This described as a Cantata of Women’s Voices, Soprano & Baritone Solos & Orchestra, the verse by D.  Stevens, adapted from a prose poem by O. Wilde. The next version seems to be that by Renzo Bossi (1883-1965), published by Edizione Internationale in Milan in 1953 as Il Principe felice: Opera Radiofonica (o da concerto) in 1 tempo.  op.52.

This was followed by Malcolm Williamson's version of 1965, published in London by Josef Weinberger and performed at the Farnham Festival on the 22nd May that year.  This was recorded in 1966 by Decca / Argo ZNF5 with Marcus Dods conducting; and performed on the 8th & 9th April 2000 by the Canterbury Opera Youth at the Elmwood Auditorium, Canterbury, New Zealand, directed by Eilish Moran, musical direction by EleanorSim and Elizabeth Emeleu.

Then in 1982 Edizioni Curci published Il Principe Felice 'fiaba in tre atti e quattro quadri, liberammente tratta da Oscar Wilde op.27' by Franco Mannino.  (If any of our Italianreaders can put us in touch with Maestro Mannino we would be extremely grateful.)

Two years later Blackwell's of Oxford published The Happy Prince- a Musical Play for Children by Veronica Betts and in 1986 Eric Gérard composed music for The Happy Prince in France.  That exhausts our own knowledge, and we look forward to learning more.


Contributions to this section of THE OSCHOLARS from anywhere in the world will be very welcome indeed.  We will do our best to arrange reviews, and volunteers are sought.

1.  Australia

Barry Lowewrites

New Theatre is proud to present the Australian première of Gross Indecency - The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde by Moises Kaufman (The Laramie Project), directed by ElaineHudson as a part of the 2002 Sydney Gay +Lesbian Mardi Gras Festival.

As a special treat for Wilde fans, his masterpiece The Importance of Being Earnest (As Performed by the Inmates of Reading Gaol), will play in repertoire.  The concept for this all-male version is by Barry Lowe who previously worked with director ElaineHudson on the highly successful The Death of Peter Pan.  Following is a full schedule of performances and bookinginformation.  Please note that New Theatre has a capacity of 166 seats.  The season consists of only 18 performances of Gross Indecency and 8 of The Importance of Being Earnest, so early bookings are highly recommended.

Friday 1st March

Gross Indecency 8 pm

Sunday 3rd March

The Importance of Being Earnest 5.30 pm

Thursday 7th March

Gross Indecency 8 pm

Friday 8th March

Gross Indecency 8 pm

Saturday 9th March

Gross Indecency 3 pm

The Importance of Being Earnest 8 pm

Sunday 10th March

The Importance of Being Earnest 5.30 pm

Thursday 14th March

Gross Indecency 8 pm

Friday 15th March

Gross Indecency 8 pm

Saturday 16th March

Gross Indecency 3 pm 

The Importance of Being Earnest 8 pm

Sunday 17th March

The Importance of Being Earnest 5.30 pm

Thursday 21st March

Gross Indecency 8 pm

Friday 22nd March 

Gross Indecency 8 pm

Saturday 23rd March

Gross Indecency 3 pm (final) 

The Importance of Being Earnest 8 pm (final)

2.  England

The Happy Prince is part of a double bill at The Theatre By The Lake, Keswick, Cumbria 28th, 29th and 30th March

Lady Windermere's Fan, directed by Peter Hall, has now opened at the Theatre Royal, Haymarket, London and will run to 8th June.

Vanessa Redgrave and Joely Richardson

Photograph kindly supplied by Gareth Richman, EPO On-Line


Salome: The Welsh National Opera production (for details see under Wales)

This will be staged

12th to 15th March: Apollo Theatre, George Street, Oxford

20th March: Birmingham Hippodrome, Birmingham

28th March: Mayflower Theatre, Southampton, Hampshire

A Woman of No Importance, directed by Elijah Moshinsky with Kate O'Mara as Mrs Arbuthnot began its tour on the 22nd January at theTheatre Royal Windsor, where it will run until 9th February.  On 11th February it moves to the Festival Theatre, Malvern.  It transfers to the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford 25th February to 2nd March.  Its further peregrinations will be recorded in future editions of THE OSCHOLARS.  As Ms O'Mara is describedin the publicity as 'a sultry temptress', this may possibly be a revisionist interpretation of the play.

Mrs Arbuthnot

Kate O'Mara

Lord Illingworth

Oliver Tobias

Lady Hunstanton

Josephine Tewson

Mrs Allonby

Deborah Grant

Gerald Arbuthnot

Cameron Fitch

Hester Worsley

Sarah Wateridge

Lady Caroline Pontefract

Catherine Kanter

Sir John Pontefract

Clive Walton

Mr Kelvil

Antony Gabriel

Archdeacon Daubeny

David Brierley


Walter Hill


Angela Pymm

Image and other information kindly supplied by Sarah Swanson, Bill Kenwright Ltd


A production by the Barrow Savoyards is at Forum 28, Barrow-in-Furness,Cumbria, to 2nd March; and it is also being performed by the Exeter University Gilbert & Sullivan Society 4th to 9th March, Northcott Theatre, Exeter University, Devonshire.

- and for the record

Lord Arthur Savile's Crime was staged

20th to 23rd February by the Studio Theatre Company at Salisbury ArtsCentre, Salisbury Wiltshire

and 21st to 23rd February by the Street Theatre Company at the StrodeTheatre, Church Road, Street, Somerset.

We regret that we overlooked these productions when preparing THE OSCHOLARS for February and thank Claudia Letat for drawing them to our attention.

3.  France

Le portrait de Dorian Gray continues Au Bec Fin, 6 rue Thérèse, Paris, directed by Diane Delmont with Ivan Lambert, Séverine Chabrier, Eric Jansen, Gonzague De Lamotte and Sarah Lambert.  This version was first produced at the Bec Fin in 1990 and has had over eight hundred performances.

4.  Germany

The Dwarf/ Der Zerg (The Birthday of the Infanta)

A new production of the Zemlinsky opera opens on the 28th March at the Staatstheater Braunschweig.  No details available at the timeof going to Press.

The touring production of The Importance of being Earnest continues through March, but the schedule should be checked lest it has changed:

1st March                                            Amerika Haus München, Karolinenplatz 3, München

2nd March                                           Amerika Haus München

4th March                                           Steyer

5th March                                           Amberg

6th March                                           Döbeln Uhr Theater Döbeln,Theaterstr. 7, Döbeln

7th March                                           Frankfurt Oder-Kleist Forum

8th March                                           Cottbus

11th March                                         Lausnitzhalle Hoyerswerda

12th March                                         Muhlhausen

13th March                                         Freiberg

14th March                                         Lüneburg An den Reeperbahnen 3, Lüneburg

15th March                                         Münster Städtische Bühnen, Neubrückenstr. 63, Münster

17th March                                         Nurenberg

18th March                                         Heidelberg Schloß

20th March                                         Delmenhorst, Kleines Haus Delmenhorst

21st March                                          Lübeck

22nd March                                         Amerika Haus, Karolinenplatz 3, München

23rd March                                          München

5.  Italy

Salome will be staged at La Scala, Milan (productionfrom the Teatro Carlo Felice in Genoa) 2nd, 5th, 9th, 12th, 14th, 16thMarch


Wolfgang Schmidt


Hanna Schwarz


Sylvie Valayre


Alan Titus


Christopher Ventris


Ulf Schirmer


Giancarlo Cobelli

Sets, Costumes

Paolo Tommasi


Wolfgang Schmidt             Sylvie Valayre

6.  Scotland

A Woman of No Importance, directed by Elijah Moshinsky.  His Majesty's Theatre, Aberdeen, 25th March.  Moredetails given above.

7.  USA

De Profundis in the version by Larry Sitsky (a seven-part song cycle) is being performed at the Angel Orensanz Foundation Center for the Arts, 172 Norfolk Street, New York, NY, for one performance only on the 14th March.  The soloistis Kerry Henderson, baritone.  The conductor is Eckart Preu.

Reservations and Information 212 598 9376

(Note: program also includes Dover Beach and Adagio for Strings by Samuel Barber.)

Kerry Henderson writes 'I performed the work in 1995, as part of a larger show which I developed called Wilde Alone.  This was part of the Sydney Mardis Gras Arts Festival.  I saw Corin Redgrave give his wonderful rendition of De Profundis in London a few months ago, which prompted me to think of performing Larry Sitsky's work again.  I am now based in New York, and I thought the piece needed to be performed here.  I approached the Australian Consulate General and the American Australian Association for funding, and we have a show!'

We are grateful to Faye-Ellen Silverman (Mannes College) and to Kerry Henderson for sending us this information; as well as to Mr Henderson for permission to reprint his photograph.

The Importance of Being Earnest will be produced at the Theatre in the Square, Marietta, Georgia, 20th March to 28th April, and at Hilberry Theatre, Wayne State University, on the 1st, 23rd, 29th and 30th March.

Salome will be performed by Seattle Opera on the 23rd, 24th, 27th, 29th and 30th March.


Nina Warren


Peter Kazaras


Richard Paul Fink

Music Director

Gerard Schwarz 


Sharon Ott

Oscar Wilde: His Music and Times is a concert that is being staged on Sunday, 10th March by the Sarasota Opera Studio Artists that paints a musical picture of the life, work and times of Oscar Wilde. The program will present a diverse selection of music, including selections from Gilbert and Sullivan’s Patience, English music hall standards, classical opera selections, and music based on Wilde’s prose and poetry.  Sarasota Opera House, Sarasota, Florida.

- and for the record

On 28th February TOSOS II (Doric Wilson- Mark Finley – Barry Childs) in association with Out Professionals and The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center presented a concert reading of Tom Eyen's Sarah B. Divine, directed by Barry Childs with music composed by Morry Campbell at the Harvey Lerner Auditorium at The Center, 208 West13th Street, New York City.

In this play, four actresses play different aspects of Sarah Bernhardt in various moments in her life--often at the same time.  Maurice, Sarah's illegitimate son, narrates and provides musical accompaniment.  Other actors play a variety of characters, including Oscar Wilde, Eleanora Duse, Ellen Terry, Alexandre Dumas, and various members of Sarah's household and touring company.  The cast included Morry Campbell, DouglasGregory, Anne Marie Higgins, Rebecca Kendall, Siobhan O'Malley, MariaRusolo, Genevieve Schartner, Joy Schiebel and Michael Wolfe.

We are grateful to Doric Wilson for sending us this information.

8.  Wales


The Welsh National Opera production will be staged on 2nd, 5thand 8th March at the New Theatre, Park Place, Cardiff.


Eliane Coelho


Elizabeth Vaughan


Anna Burford


Jeffrey Lawton


Peter Hoare


Matthew Best


Carlo Rizzi


André Engel

Set Designer

Nick Rieti

Costume Designer

Elizabeth Neumuller

  Lighting Designer

André Diot

This is all (and perhaps more than all) we can bring you as the WNO website carries the following notice:

The following acts are prohibited in respect of the materials and works:

...  any form of reproductionwhatsoever, including without limitation the extraction and/or storage in any retrieval system or inclusion in any other computer program or work.


We continue our biography drawn from immaculate sources of the other Oscar Wilde.  The following are from Stevens W. Anderson (ed): The Great American Bathroom Book.  Salt Lake City: Compact Classics 1992.

§5-L.1.b 'Oscar Wilde, the witty Edwardian poet, playwright,and author was noted for his refined demeanor.  The same mannerisms and dress, however, that made him a popular guest at parties, also labeled him as a homosexual; and although he was the married father of six, a sexual scandal which erupted just a few days after the opening of The Importance of being Earnest eventually earned him two years of hard labour in prison.'

§5-F.1.b.  [Dorian Gray]  'Himself an accomplished painter, Wilde took the theme of his book from a real-life event similar to the opening of the story.'

To be continued (contributions welcome)...


A monthly look at websites (contributionswelcome). is The Oscar Wilde Page at the University of Minnesota, last 'updated'on 22nd July 1996.  It contains a short list of links to seven other Wilde websites, of which our favourite description has to be 'The Oscar Wilde Project.  (CedarNet) A sparse biography, poorly editted.'  (This is in fact the site of the actor and writer Robert Coyle,, who founded The Oscar Wilde Project in 1992 to develop a new one – man show about Wilde: it has no claims to be a biography of Wilde, sparse or otherwise, and it is perfectly properly 'editted'.) is a site for enthusiasts of Victoriana, with many useful sections on Victoriandomestic crafts and décor. is yet another on-line discussion group, founded on 1st July 2001 (or possibly7th January 2001) by Marc Goodman.  It has yet to attract any discussion. is an interesting and well-illustrated site by Joe Knapp, discussing the controversy over the alleged recording Wilde made at the Paris Exposition Universelle of 1900.  Well worth a look - and a listen.  It is a subsidary page of a site which deals with Wilde and d'Oyley Carte in America. is maintained by Douglas Linder of the law faculty in the University of Missouri - Kansas City and is a comprehensiveand valuable treatment over many pages of Wilde and his trials and imprisonment, and the prison writings.


Books in print mentioned in THE OSCHOLARS can be ordered from:

John Wyse Jackson at John Sandoe (Books) Ltd, 10 Blacklands Terrace, London SW3 2SR

·  John Wyse Jackson is editor of Aristotle at Afternoon Tea: The Rare Oscar Wilde. London: Fourth Estate 1991; paperback edition retitled Uncollected Oscar Wilde. 1995.

Oscar Wilde Buchhandlung und Versand at Alte Gasse 51, 60313 Frankfurt Tel.: 069/28 12 60 Fax: 069/297 75 42.  Contact Harald.; e-mail:

Dorian Bookstore, 802 Elm at Madison, Youngstown, Ohio 44505-2843.  Contact Jack Peterson.

Internet:; e-mail:

The Oscar Wilde Book Shop, 15 Christopher Street, New York, NY 10014.  E-mail:

Ebay is an online auction house wheremany Wilde items are offered, from second-hand paperbacks to playbills to limited editions.  We have set up this link which should take you straight to ebay's Wilde pages:

Some of the more interesting offers on Ebay this month were

the American edition of the Hart-Davis Letters (Harcourt, Brace & World,Inc.1962);

'a rare and magnificent 1882 color trade card from Oscar Wilde’s American tour with the legend, "Oh! Oscar!" Mounting traces to revers and light creasing to upper left corner, otherwise excellent condition.  Dimensions 4½ by 3 inches';

a copy of the first American edition of TheBallad of Reading Gaol;

and signed photographs of Evelyn Millard, who played Cecily Cardew and Irene Vanbrugh,who played Gwendolen, (though the photographs are not in rôle).

Descriptions are those of the booksellers, and without any reasonfor disbelief, nonetheless

THE OSCHOLARS cannot vouch for their accuracy.


Here are the birth and death dates of some ofthose whose lives intersected that of Wilde (and some whose livessurprisingly did not); we are grateful to Robert Maguire for adding the birthday of Carlos Blacker.  March saw the deaths of Aubrey Beardsley, Sarah Bernhardt and Lord Alfred Douglas.  We note March also sees the anniversary of the death of Thelma Holland.




Birth of George du Maurier




Birth in Paris of Lillie Langtry's daughter, Jeanne-Marie




Birth of Sarasate




Birth of Lionel Johnson




Birth of Rosa Bonheur




Birth of Stéphane Mallarmé




Birth of Robert de Montesquiou




Birth of W.J. Locke




Birth of Albert Chevalier




Birth of the Countess de Castiglione




Birth of Vincent d'Indy




Birth of Carlos Blacker




Birth of Andrew Lang

Garb of woe will be appropriate on the following days.




Death of Prince Richard Metternich




Death of Mounet-Sully




Death of Bourke Cockran




Death of Alexandre Charpentier




Death of Lord Hemphill, great-uncle of Constance Wilde.




Death of Louisa May Alcott




Death of Stephen Mac Kenna




Death of F. Anstey




Assassination of Tsar Alexander II




Death of Rodolphe Salis




Death of Laura Hope




Death of Alexander von Zemlinsky




Death of Aubrey Beardsley




Death of Francisque Sarcey




Death of Sir George Alexander




Death of Heinrich Sutermeister




Death of Emily Lloyd, aunt of Constance Wilde leaving her £3000




Death of Nadar




Death of Lord Alfred Douglas




Death of Philip Wilson Steer




Death of Longfellow




Death of John Millington Synge




Death of General Sir Hector MacDonald




Death of Sarah Bernhardt




Death of Arnold Bennett

Wilde’s own calendar for the month (America excepted, being accessible elsewhere) is as follows.  Additionsand corrections as always welcome.




Willie Wilde called to the Bar.




Wilde visits Greece with Mahaffy, returning viâ Rome in April.




Publication of Wilde’s poem 'Impression de Voyage' in 'Waifs and Strays' 3 (Oxford, ed. by Harold Bolton).




Lillie Langtry stays with Sir George & Lady Lewis at Walton-on-Thames.  Wilde and the Comyns Carrs visit.




Wilde finishes 'The Duchess of Padua'.




Wilde and Constance dine with Mr and Mrs Charles Hancock.




Wilde lectures on Chatterton.




Publication of Wilde’s 'Further Literary Notes  in 'Woman's World'.




Wilde finishes 'De Profundis'.




Wilde obtains warrant for Queensberry's arrest.




Wilde’s 'Impression du matin' published in'The World'.




Wilde visits the Royal Academy.




Wilde visits Mallarmé.




Wilde lectures on 'The House Beautiful', Bijou Theatre, St Leonard's.




Wilde at first night of the triple bill 'Le Baiser' (Banville, tr.  John Gray), 'A Visit' (Brandes), 'A Modern Idyll' (adapted by Arthur Symons from the novel by Frank Harris.




Wilde enters for the 'Ireland' Scholarship.




The Wildes leave Babbacombe.




Publication of Wilde’s 'Dinners and Dishes' in The Pall Mall Gazette.




Wilde at 'The Importance' with Lord Alfred Douglas and Constance; Constance returns alone to Tite Street.




Wilde meets George Ives in Paris.




Wilde in Paris to meet Zola.




Publication of Wilde’s 'Mr Pater's Appreciations' in 'The Speaker'.




Alfred Taylor introduces Wilde to the Parkers.  Wilde offends with Charles Parker at the Savoy Hotel.




Wilde and Lord Alfred Douglas go to MonteCarlo for a week.




Wilde meets Carlos Blacker in Paris.




Wilde has tea with Frank Miles to meet Lord Ronald Gower and Constance Duchess of Westminster.




Publication of Wilde’s 'Shakespeare on Scenery' in 'The Dramatic Review'.




Wilde sends MS of 'The Duchess of Padua' to Mary Anderson.




Publication of Wilde’s second letter to the 'Daily Chronicle'.




Dowson sends Wilde a copy of 'The Pierrot of the Minute'.




Publication of Wilde’s 'The American Invasion'in 'Court & Society Review'.




Wilde visits the fortune teller Mrs Robinson.




Wilde moves to the Hôtel d'Alsace, 13 rue des Beaux-Arts.




Publication of Wilde’s 'Great Writers by Little Men' in 'The Pall Mall Gazette'.




Wilde cuts his lip badly in a fiacre accident.




Publication of Wilde’s 'The Birthday of the Infanta' as 'The Birthday of the Little Princess' in French and English in 'Paris Illustré'.




Wilde in Ravenna.



This section is chiefly for the Editor's vanity publishing.  It is also intended for other pieces too long for Notes & Queries but perhaps not quite substantial enough for articles in the print journals.  It may serve also as a notice board of early drafts, with comments invited; or for work that has been cut from articles elsewhere by unfeeling and purblind editors.

1.  Margot Asquith on Oscar Wilde.

To mark the publication on-line of Margot Asquith's Autobiography, we reprint this account of her association with Wilde This is from More Memories London: Cassell 1933, which is not cited by Hyde, Ellmann, or Belford.

p.115] 'I will leave my diary here [...] prompted by a note in the margin of my journal: "On 7th December (1891) I received a letter from Oscar Wilde, saying he had [p.116] dedicated his new story The Star Child to me ...  The first time I ever saw Oscar Wilde was in May, 1888, at a garden party given by Lady Archibald Campbell, the mothe rof the present Duke of Argyll and a woman of great charm and originality.  I observed a large, fat, floppy man, in unusual clothes sitting under afir tree surrounded by admirers.  He was explaining why he thought he resembled Shakespeare; and ended a brilliant monologue by saying he intended to have a bronze medallion struck of his own profile and Shakespeare's.  At which Lady Archie Campbell said in a slow voice "And I suppose, Mr Wilde, your profile will protrude beyond Shakespeare's!"

'I had no idea who he was, but joined in the conversation; and after tea, he and I strolled together round the garden.  Having heard me called "Margot", he asked what my other name was [...] I asked him whathis name was, and when he said "Oscar Wilde", I told him that I had only once heard the name Wild [...]

'He promised to come and see me when we said good-bye, and I invited him to stay at Glen.

'Oscar Wilde and I saw one another often after this first meeting: I think he found the lack of paradox in my conversation restful, and when alone together he was certain of two listeners.  He came to Glen in the autumn of 1889, but as he disliked the country he spent most of his time indoors, and wrote several aphorisms and poems on loose sheets of paper.  I regret to say I [p.117] lost these, and the only poem [q.v.] of his that I possess is one which he wrote in my album ...  This is a variation of Impressions du Matin published in Wilde’s collected poems [...]

'It may be because knowing him as well as I did, the artificiality of his nature was so alien to my own, that I have never been able to separate the man from his books, but Oscar Wilde is not an author that I appreciate,and speaking for myself, I do not think his stories, plays, or poems will live.  I am probably wrong, as his plays are applauded in foreign capitals.  The Importance of being Earnest is brilliantly clever,and it is always foolish to prophesy upon the future fame of any author; but I doubt if cleverness was the effect he produced by his curious personality and witty, daring conversation; but though I have not read anything written about him I doubt if the biographer exists who can reproduce these.

'To me, he appeared like something monstrous and unreal thrown into a world of human beings ready to applaud, but not to accept any of his views upon life.

p.118] 'Of his prose writings, the last - and some people think the best - was written in prison.  De Profundis was, I imagine, the outcome of his sufferings, and is his Apologia.  It is the only one of his books which I have re-read, and has the defects I think I would find were I to re-read his poems or any of his works of fiction.  It is thin of thought, and though the words soar sometimes like birds in wind, they never soar very high, and there is not a phrase in De Profundis that you could quote.  It also shows the taint of a religion in whichhe did not believe, and to which he only turned hysterically after his troubles.  When he was convicted, Oscar Wilde was treated with such cruelty and inhumanity that it it is possible that physical and mental anguish impaired his powers of reflection.  But there is nothing inthis book that recalls what Keats says of Wordsworth: "He thought deep into the human heart"; or what Mr Read says of the same poet "Wordsworth's poetry [...] belongs to that rare species of poetry in which thought is felt".

'In De Profundis, Wilde clings to Christ as a drunkard clings to a lamp-post.  He dwells with reiterated insistence - and rightly - upon Christ's mercy and His sympathy; but what Oscar Wilde never discerned, was the humanness and purity which gave Jesus the sovereignty of sympathy.  It was not His ethics, or His intellect, but Christ's humanity that differentiated him from the other prophets of the world.

'In De Profundis Oscar Wilde writes: "Neither religion, morality nor reason, can help me at all.  Morality does not help me.  I am a born antinomian, I am one of those who are made for exceptions, not for Laws."

'It is always dangerous when a man claims to be an "exception", for if he is, he should be unaware of it; and I think that Oscar Wilde prided himself throughout his life on being "an exception".

'He admires Renan's life of Christ in which Renan [p.119] describes his Hero as "ce charmant Docteur".  Wilde says that our Lord "could not stand stupid people, especially those who are made stupid by education"; and later in the book he says: "He preached the enormous importance of living completely for the moment."  This is the sort of bright remark which irritates me.  It is not clever enough to conceal its gross absurdity; for if there is one thing more certain than another, it is tha tthe essence of Christ's teaching was that we were not to look upon this world - with either its sorrows or its pleasures - as the end, but to layup for ourselves treasure in Heaven.  What was carnal, material and selfish in us was to be subordinated to what was spiritual.  Taking no thought for the morrow did not mean sanctioning self-indulgence forthe moment.  To read Wilde upon Christ is like reading Wordsworth in a brothel.  Nor is he more distinguished when he writes about himself.  "I don't regret for a single moment having lived for pleasure [...] I threw the pearl of my soul into a cup of wine.  I went down the primrosepath to the sound of flutes."  This is highfalutin' sorry stuff, and tragically without meaning.

'Of all Oscar Wilde’s works, The Ballad of Reading Gaol is the most impressive.  There is a shrill sexless scream of terror which is the real man and I find it infinitely moving.

'Wilde’s nature is best exposed by what he writes in De Profundis:"To each of us, different fates are meted out.  My lot has been one of public infamy, of long imprisonment, of misery, of ruin, of disgrace; but I am not worthy of it - not yet at any rate."

'It might have been said of him as of Julius Cæsar: "Such men as he, be never at heart's ease"; and it would be a terrible confession if you could not extend sympathy to such a tortured, isolated soul.  But from the point of view of literature, I do not think any of [p.120] Oscar Wilde’s self-revelations will rank with the writings of Rousseau, Swift, or any of the great classical Egotists.  Foreigners admire authors like Byron who reveal and dramatize themselves, in the same way as they condone crimes which are called "passionel": and writers who under a mask of pontifical impartiality make light of life will always admirers.  But it is an error to suppose that all goodness goes on with imbecility; and mocking at life may be entertaining, but it will neither teach youto live nor help you to die.  The only excuse for the complacencyof such egotists is when it is expressed through magnificent literature.

'One day Oscar Wilde and I were sitting together on the downs in a wood above the the lovely country round Wilton.

'I pointed out the landscape that stretched in a map of mist at our feet.  "I hate views, " he said, "they are only made for bad painters".  We talked of books, and he said he wished he had written "The Dolly Dialogues".  In the middle of our entrancing conversation we heard the sound of an early cuckoo close above our heads.  At this he got up, and said: "Let us go in - the sound of a cuckoo makes me feel sick".  This remark of his gave me a shiver, and when we returned home I realized that he was a man I could never either understand or care for.  There was no Oscar Wilde - he was not a human being.  I do not say this because of his morals, of which I never wish to hear again, but because his best life lay in his mind, and his mind was non-conducting clay in which more artificial than real roses flourished.  But if wit is sufficient, Oscar Wilde’s work may survive.

'After he had suffered a cruel term of imprisonment he [p.121] went to live in Paris.  A friend of mine, Texeira de Mattos, who married Mrs Willy Wilde, went to see him.  Wilde was a complete invalid at the time, and Texeira found him lying on a sofa surrounded by books, fruitand flowers.  He looked up when he saw his friend, and said: "You see I am dying beyond my means".'

2.  Pagans and Paganism.

There has been some discussion on the VICTORIA List of the use of 'pagan' to signify homosexual (disputed by some correspondents).  Given the occasional and usually ill-informed discussions on the similar usage of Ernest and even Cecily, we reprint, by kind permission, the following article (slightly edited) from the VICTORIA List by Terry L. Meyers, Professor of English at the College of William and Mary in Virginia.  This itself is drawn from Professor Meyers' The Sexual Tensions of William Sharp: A Study ofthe Birth of Fiona MacLeod, Incorporating Two Lost Works, 'Ariadne in Naxos'and 'Beatrice' (New York: Peter Lang 1996), note 25 to a paragraph on p.13, with the footnote itself being on pp.49-52.

On August 15, 1892, Sharp published the only issue of what he intended as a quarterly, The Pagan Review.  The issue was extraordinary not just because all the contributions were written by Sharp under different pseudonyms, but because its foreword addressed directly some of the tensions confronting English society (and Sharp).

Sharp's adoption of eight different pseudonyms for this issue is intriguing in the light of what Jack Babuscio has observed, 'that the homosexual experience of passing for straight leads to 'a heightened awareness and appreciation for disguise, impersonation, the projection of personality, and the distinctions to be made between instinctive andtheatrical behaviour'' (from 'Camp and the Gay Sensibility,' in Richard Dyer, ed., Gays and Film [London: British Film Institute, 1977], p.45, quoted in Jonathan Dollimore, Sexual Dissidence: Augustine to Wilde Freud to Foucault [Oxford: ClarendonPress, 1991], p.311).

My colleague Tom Heacox suggests that the title of The Pagan Review might well have had a coded appeal at the time, allowing an understanding of 'Greek,' and thereby suggesting 'homosexual.'  In support of this possibility, he has tracked 'pagan'in contexts that encourage such an inference:

–Pater's reiteration of the term in his essay on Johann Joachim Winckelmann;

–Richard Burton's use of the word when he says that 'in the pagan days of  imperial Rome her literature makes no difference between boy and girl' (see Brian Reade: Sexual Heretics: Male Homosexuality in English Literature from 1850 to 1900, An Anthology [London: Routledge and Kegan Paul,1970], pp.79, 81, 83, 88, 89, 98, 169);

–John Addington Symonds' use of 'pagan' (see Male Love: A Problem inGreek Ethics and Other Writings, ed.  John Lauritsen [New York: Pagan Press, 1983], pp.61, 65, 73, 82);

–Edmund John's attraction to a boy acolyte: 'Yea, but thy wide eyes burned/ Like stars above a pagan shrine; / And in them shone a gleam of pagan things' (Timothy d'Arch Smith, Love in Earnest: Some Notes on the Lives and Writings of English 'Uranian' Poets from 1889 to 1930 [London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1970], p.  180);

–the denunciation by The Daily Telegraph during Wilde’s trial ofthe importation into England of 'the pagan side of bygone times, with all its cynicism, scepticism, and animalism,' what it calls a 'French and Pagan plague' (April 6, 1895, quoted in Jonathan Goodman, The Oscar Wilde File [London: W.  H.  Allen and Company, 1989], p.  76);

–a letter-writer's denunciation in The Star at the same time (April 23, 1895) of 'Pagan viciousness' (Goodman, p.98);

–and comments such as Roger Austen's on Charles Warren Stoddard: 'he took care to gloss over the pagan and homoerotic aspects' (Genteel Pagan:The Double Life of Charles Warren Stoddard, ed. John W. Crowley [Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1991], p.140).

Brian Brewer has drawn my attention to Henry James' short story based on John Addington Symonds, 'The Author of Beltraffio'; the repugnance the wife of Mark Ambient feels for her husband comes from her fear of ''a subtle poison or a contagion-something thatwould rub off on his [their son's] tender sensibility when his father kisses him or holds him on his knee'' (p.38).  Following a discussion of when the son should read Ambient's novels (Mrs. Ambient thinks 'it might be very awkward when he was about fifteen'), the writer muses on his difference of outlook with his wife: ''My wife would tell you it's the differencebetween Christian and Pagan.  I may be a pagan, but I don't like the name; it sounds sectarian.  She thinks me at any rate no better than an ancient Greek.  It's the difference between making the most of life and making the least, so that you'll get another better one in some other time and place'' (The Novels and Tales of Henry James, XVI, 45).

Fred Kaplan quotes James' sensitivity to Symonds' tribulations as related to him by another man struggling to cometo terms with homoerotic feelings, Edmund Gosse: ''poor S.'s wife was in no sort of sympathy with what he wrote [sic] thinking his books immoral, pagan, hyper-aesthetic' ['a polite synonym for homoerotic,' notes Kaplan]' (Henry James, The Imagination of Genius: A Biography [New York:William Morrow and Company, 1992], p.302).  Other evidence points in a similar direction.  See for example the advice that Oscar Wilde offered,apparently in October 1892, to the homosexual activist George Ives (1867-1950)-thatIves should 'set up a pagan monastery on some rocky Mediterranean island' (John Stokes, 'Wilde at Bay: The Diariesof George Ives', p.177).  In Hellenism and Homosexuality in Victorian Oxford (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1994), Linda Dowling subtly explores the interconnections among Hellenic studies, English liberal thought, and the legitimizing of homosexuality.  Her account of W. H. Mallock's assault in The New Republic (1877) on Benjamin Jowett and Pater ('Mr. Rose') briefly indicates themes she develops in other places: Mallock 'uses Mr. Rose's own fondness for specific classical allusions as a way of suggesting his pagan sexual preferences, a homoeroticism Mallock shows extending unmistakably to Mr.  Rose's urgent present-day interestin 'a boy of eighteen-a youth of extraordinary promise, I think, whose education I may myself claim to have had some share in directing'' (pp.107-108).  Dowling quotes too a comment by one of Wilde’s friends, expressing the perception that Wilde’s trip toGreece in 1877 made others think him changed, ''become Hellenized, somewhat Paganized'' (p.121n).  Most interesting is Dowling's citation of one Oxford undergraduate's denunciation in 1877 of ''Pater-paganism and Symonds-sophistry'' for encouraging ''the worst passions and most carnal inclinations of humanity'' (p.116).

Consider too E.M. Forster's observation in Howards End (1910) on the 'business mind' of Mr. Wilcox as he is concerned with his daughter's wedding: 'No Pagan he, who lives for the Now, and may be wiser than all philosophers' (New York: Vintage International, 1989; p.260).  And, perhaps even more telling, see Forster's 1922 description of the blond Christian missionary Mr. Pin may just after his seduction of the chief Vithobai: 'Here,after the cry [of love] had died away, a light was kindled.  It shone upon the pagan limbs and the golden ruffled hair of a young man' ('The Life to Come,' in The Life to Come and Other Short Stories [New York: W. W. Norton, 1972], p.65).

A comment, however, by one of the few people who knew Sharp was Macleod shows how difficult it is to pin down 'pagan.'  Thomas A. Janvier wrote Sharp on June 22, 1896 about the male characteristics Janvier thought he could detect in Macleod's work, but hailed the 'strong new current [that] must have come into your life […] a radical change in your own soul': 'The Pagan element is entirely subordinated to and controlled by the inner passionsof the soul.  In a word you have lifted your work from the flesh-level tothe soul-level' (Memoir, II, 75).  And Sharp himself uses the word with heterosexual overtones both in characterizing Samuel Pepys as the 'famous chronicler and incurable old pagan' and in praising the beauty of women:'there is always this conviction for loyal Pagans to fall back upon - inthe words of George Meredith -'the visible fair form of a woman is hereditary queen of us'' ('Ecce Puella,' in Ecce Puella and Other Prose Imaginings [London: Elkin Mathews, 1896], pp.32, 9-10).  Alaya links The Pagan Review to Sharp's series of sensual poems about bathing and to his bohemian lifein Rome where, she suggests, 'pagan water activities' occurred (pp.101-102).

v      Terry L Meyers' article 'Oscar Wilde and Williamsburg: A Study' appeared as Significant Monograph Series No.1 printed by the Society for the Preservation of Nineteenth-Century Williamsburg 1978, and was reprinted in The Review: College of William and Mary, 17 (Fall, 1978), pp.13-14.


THE OSCHOLARS continues its cousinly association with the Oscar Wilde Society and its print journal The Wildean.  Contacts for the Society are given below.

The Editor writes

The Wildean is published twice a year (in January and July) and contains features on a variety of subjects relating to Wilde including articles, reviews and correspondence.  It is a publication of permanent interest (MLA listed and indexed) and copies of all recent back issues are available.  Details from the Editor (see below).

Librarians interested in acquiring sets are invited to contact the Editor for details of contents and prices.

Contributions to future issues of The Wildean are invited.  Guidelines for submissions are available from the Editor, and articles, reviews, notes or letters should be sent to him at the address given below.

The Society's Newsletter - Intentions - is given coverage under Publications, above.

The Oscar Wilde Society is a literary society devoted to the congenial appreciation of Oscar Wilde.  It is a non-profit making organisation which aims to promote knowledge, appreciation and study of Wilde’s life, personality and works.  It organises lectures, readings and  discussions, including author's lunches and dinners, and visits to placesin Great Britain and overseas associated with Wilde.  A visit to Dieppe and Berneval will take place in May 2002, following visits to Dublin (September 2001) and to Paris (November 2000).  There is an annual lunch in Oxford, and an annual Birthday Dinner at the Cadogan Hotel, London.

New members are very welcome.  The current annual individual subscription (UK) is £18 and household membership £23.  The rates for overseas membership are £20 (European postal area) and £25 (Rest ofthe World).

In addition to The Wildean, members receive a newsletter – Intentions - which is published about six times a year and gives reports on the Society's activities and information about forthcoming events, performances and publications.

THE OSCHOLARS publishes the Table of Contents for each new issue of The Wildean and that for Issue No. 20 was published in January 2002 with details given in the February issue of THE OSCHOLARS.  We also continue to print the Tables of Contents from earlier issues, with a note from the Editor about the principal articles, and will do this until the whole set has been detailed.

The Wildean No. 11 was published in July 1997.  It opens with an article by David Hare - 'The Judas Kiss: an Introduction.'  This was written as an introduction to theplay, and was to be printed as a preface to the Faber edition.  In the eventthe book was published in 1978 without it.  A version was, however, printed in the programmes for the performances of The Judas Kiss by the Almeida Theatre in its temporary home at the Playhouse Theatre, London, directed by Richard Eyre, with Liam Neeson as Oscar and Tom Hollander as Bosie.

The article provides a fascinating insight into David Hare's experience of Wilde, starting with Hare,aged eleven, putting on a puppet show production of Earnest at Bexhill-on-Sea('a somewhat shortened version').  He describes how for his play he made the basic decision to focus on two short scenes in Wilde’s story - at the Cadogan Hotel, and in Naples with Bosie - put them under the microscope, and prolong them to see just how much weight they could carry.  'The true story of my play is not Wilde, but love: not Bosie, but betrayal.'  There are some interesting incidental anecdotes: a certain 'Marxist supervisor' at Cambridge had warned him that a student could do himself terrible harm by concentrating his studies on Wilde whose eccentric defence of socialism was so shallow and frivolous.  Twenty years later the same supervisor, now Professor of English at Oxford, himself wrote a play about Wilde with an introduction saying that the Left in England lacked a detectable sense of humour.  David Hare remarks: 'I think I may be said to have spotted that some years before he did.'

Micheál MacLiammóir's theatrical entertainment, The Importance of Being Oscar, was very influential in its time in rehabilitating Wilde’s reputation, especially in Ireland.  Performed by Simon Callow, and directed by Patrick Garland, it began a successful season at the Savoy Theatre in March 1997.  Simon Callow, in conversation with Don Mead, gives a wide-ranging and informative account of his 'homage to Wilde and to MacLiammóir', and his views on current perceptions of Wilde.  The illustration, drawn for The Times, is by William Hewison 'in an Aubrey Beardsley mode'.

On his release from prison in May 1897, Oscar visited Hatchards bookshop, and this was the venue for readings by Martin Jarvis, from De Profundis and the Ballad, organised by the Oscar Wilde Society.  Jonathan Fryer's witty account of this, and of a parallel event at the National Portrait Gallery to unveil Maggi Hambling's statue-in-progress, makes entertaining reading.  'What more fitting place [than Hatchards] for an intimate (well, relatively) fin-de-soirée?...  the conviviality was tangible.'

In 'Wilde’s Last Stand' Philip Hoare, whosebook, subtitled 'Decadence Conspiracy and the First World War' had just been published, gives a lucid account of the events surrounding the sensationalPemberton Billing trial of 1918.  Maud Allen sued Billing for his defamatory accusations in 'The Cult of the Clitoris' and the trial, conducted in a frenetic atmosphere of wartime hysteria, was used by Bosie Douglas to decry Wilde’s memory in vindictive terms.  That Maud Allen caught the spirit of the times with her lush, almost kitsch re-interpretation of the Biblical legend of Salomé, is left in no doubt by the 'portrait for her fans' showing her in a provocative costume of strings of beads and a diaphanous skirt.

In an extended interview with Don Mead, recorded after a visit to her exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery of her work on Wilde - which included a preliminary maquette of what was to be the 'celebratory, triumphant sarcophagus' – Maggi Hambling talks about her paintings of Wilde, the commission for the statue, and her working methods.  She describes how she worked on her celebrated picture of Dorothy Hodgkin, and how she found the equivalent,in painting Oscar, of the extended period of observation needed to execute a portrait.

Michael Seeney writes about the Henry Arthur Jones play which George Alexander put on at the St.  James's Theatre after Earnest was taken off in May 1895, The Triumph of the Philistines; and how Mr Jorgan preserved the morals of Market Pewbury under very trying circumstances.  It seems that Jones rather liked quotin gOscar's three rules for writing plays: the first was not to write like Henry Arthur Jones, and the second and third rules were the same.  But although Jones was to become a very popular and thoughtful dramatist, The Triumph etc etc. was not a good play and William Archer described it as 'gloriously ill-made.  There is not a rule of orthodox construction, there is scarcely a canon of mere common-sense that it does not openly outrage.'

John Stratford's account of a glorious summer day at Sheila Colman's house in Sompting is of particular interest,withits account of her recollections of Lord Alfred Douglas and descriptionsof the letters books and memorabilia in her archives.  Sheila was one of the few people living to have known Douglas, and her death last year ended a literary link with Wilde maintained over more than a century.  Incidentally, Sheila found the portrayals of Bosie by John Fraser and Jude Law quite satisfactory in the context of fictional films, but Tom Hollander in The Judas Kiss entirely unlike him.

In 'Oscar Wilde in Bad Homburg' Christoph Hamann describes how Wilde’s decision to take the waters in Homburg in 1892 was an escape, both mental and physical, from the increasingly hostile atmosphere in England, although he was greatly concerned by the Lord Chamberlain's ban on Salomé.

Cristina Cinquini, in 'Virgil and Dante at Canterville Chase' starts by tracing parallels between Sir Simon de Canterville and Dante's Charon in the Divine Comedy, and goes on to make a most interesting exploration of references to Virgil's Charon.

Anya Clayworth finds Laurence Danson's book on Wilde’s 'Intentions' innovative, with interesting discussions which take into account notions of Wilde’s sexuality, his trials and theoretical issues, and are presented to the reader in an approachable way.

T.  F.  Evans reviews the production of Lady Windermere's Fan, directed by Braham Murray,  at the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester.  He particularly enjoyed the sense of immediacy which came from performance 'in the round' - the sense of being actually present at the action, for example in the ball scene, was almost tangible.  The production transferred to the Theatre Royal Haymarketin March 1997 and seems not to have been so successful at an orthodox proscenium arch theatre.

Anita Walsh recounts going backstage at the Theatre Royal Haymarket, with anecdotes about Oscar and Beerbohm Tree.

Finally a new road sign in Berneval, Sente Oscar Wilde was observed by the Oscar Wilde Society on one of their visits following in Wilde’s footsteps.  This was unveiled by Merlin Holland in May, and marks the footpath Oscar would have used daily when he wentfrom the Chalet Bourgeat to the village or the beach.

In the correspondence column Frances Turner notes, not without a touch of malice, that a large number of distinguished writers on Wilde have treated that fictional farrago Conversations with Oscar Wilde by A.H. Cooper-Pritchard as a factual record.  Melissa Knox, Jacques de Langlade, E.H.Mikhail, Thomas Mikolyzk, and Davis Coakley to name but five.  'Whether or not Cooper-Pritchard's book was "intended to deceive" in 1931, it has certainly proved rather good at it in more recent years!'



The Judas Kiss - An Introduction.

David Hare

The Importance of Being Oscar - An Interview with Simon Callow.

Donald Mead

Coming Out in Style (100 Years On).

Jonathan Fryer

Oscar Wilde and Arthur Humphreys.

Donald Mead

Wilde’s Last Stand.

Philip Hoare

A Statue for Oscar Wilde - An Interview with Maggi Hambling.

Donald Mead

The Last First Night & The Triumph of the Philistines.

Michael Seeney

Wine of Summer.

John Stratford

Oscar Wilde in Bad Homburg.

Christoph Hamann

Virgil and Dante at Canterville Chase.

Cristina Cinquini

Back stage at the Haymarket.

Anita Walsh

Oscar Wilde in Berneval.

Donald Mead



A Question of Context - Wilde’s Intentions Under Scrutiny.

Anya Clayworth

Lady Windermere's Fan - The Royal Exchange Theatre Production.

T.F. Evans



A.H. Cooper-Pritchard again.

Frances Turner

The Fictional Career of Oscar Wilde.

John Mayhew

The Oscar Wilde Society may be contacted by writing to the Hon.  Secretary,

Vanessa Harris

100 Peacock Street, Gravesend, Kent DA12 1EQ, England


The Wildean may be contacted by writing to its Editor,

Donald Mead


63 Lambton Road, London SW20 0LW, England


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