October 6, 2020

Michèle Mendelssohn: Making Oscar Wilde (1882)

We have a very powerful image of Oscar Wilde today. He is remembered as a master of wit and style, and champion of the beautiful. But how was this identity constructed? How was he viewed by his contemporaries?

In this episode the author and academic Michèle Mendelssohn takes us back to 1882 and Wilde's lecture tour of the United States of America to find out. This year marked, she explains, ‘the beginning of Wilde’s ascent into the great character that we now know.’

The material covered in this episode of Travels Through Time comes from Michèle Mendelssohn’s latest book, Making Oscar Wilde, which was a book of the year in the Sunday Times and the Times Literary Supplement and a semi-finalist for the 2019 PEN America Biography Prize.

For much, much more, head to https://www.tttpodcast.com/

Show notes

Scene One: 9 January 1882, Wilde’s first lecture, The Chickering Hall, New York

Scene Two: 18 January 1882, Camden, New Jersey: Wilde visits the poet Walt Whitman

Scene Three: 27 June, Biloxi, Mississippi. Wilde visits the Confederate leader Jefferson Davis

Memento: Oscar Wilde’s fur coat


Presenter: Peter Moore

Guest: Michèle Mendelssohn

Production: Maria Nolan

Podcast partner: Colorgraph

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