Life is far too important a thing ever to talk seriously about.

Oscar Wilde’s Trunk UPDATE!

About a year ago I read a blog ( https://oscarwildestrunk.wordpress.com/) about a trunk that may have once been possessed by my favorite writer Oscar Wilde. This was kind of mind blowing. I collect stuff from my favorites. I have a letter written by Poe, Whitman, Verne and of course Wilde. I also collect ‘relics’ like locks of hair (Poe), books from their personal library (Issac Newton and Charles Dickens). My collection is quite extensive and I enjoy each piece. I was fortunate enough to make some good money back in the day, I never married nor had any children, so my collection quickly became ‘my children’. I have traveled all over the world to buy or trade. Anyways, I digress, I live in California where the ‘Oscar Wilde Trunk’ resides. I contacted the blogger who wrote a plea to preserve this relic and got the contact information for the person who owns the trunk. I was given permission to examine the trunk for myself.

First off for those who were concerned about the status of the trunk. It is being kept at a college and is in a facility that is climate controlled. So that alleviated some of the concern about it’s preservation.

I was able to meet the owner of the trunk at the facility. He was gracious and patient with me and answered all my questions to the best of his abilities.

Well firstly I want to tell you that the trunk does not resonate with what we know about Wilde. It is wood with a a rawhide cover. The letters OW are emblazoned on the top. It looks like something that may have been used on a stagecoach sometime in the old wild west. Which got my imagination reeling.

People are sometimes surprised to learn that, as young man, Wilde, the poet, playwright and wit famous for his flamboyant and ultimately dramatic life in London and Paris, made two earlier visits to America.

This trunk just screams Oscar Wilde in America. And the owners story kinda corroborated this theory. The owner who wishes to stay anonymous, said that the trunk has been in his family since the 1930’s. He claimed that his great great uncle was in Paris in the 30’s and visited a makeshift museum that was created out of Wilde’s last address, a hotel room in Paris. When Wilde passed in his room the owner of the hotel offered Wilde’s ex wife the opportunity to pick up his belongings. This included books, clothes and a couple of trunks. Wilde’s wife refused the items and told the owner to keep or throw out the items. Instead the owner of the hotel opened his makeshift museum putting these items on display.

Around 1930 interest in Wilde was waning. The hotel owners wife and daughter decided to sell the contents of the room to a few of Wilde’s friends and patrons. This was around the time that the current trunk owners uncle arrived in Paris. He purchased the trunk for $200 and returned to the U.S.

A little research shows that Wilde was gifted many items while here in the America and they were really treasured by Wilde who loved the savagery and elegance of America It is my theory that the trunk was part of that history. I believe it was a treasure that Wilde carried with him through great times and brought back fond memories during his bad times.

As far as provenance well that is where it gets tricky. But my friend and fellow blogger has spent the last year in Paris researching the trunk. She interviewed people who were alive when the items were on display, she talked to the kin of the hotel owner, and looked over records of Wilde’s possessions at the time and has concluded without a doubt that this is the real thing. Currently she is writing her third book on Wilde with an emphasis on what happened to his personal relics. It is so sad, as with most contemporary artist we have very little that belonged to this immortal man.

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Save the Oscar Wilde Trunk

A veneration for antiquity seems to be natural to man; hence we consider as barbarians those who demolish the relics of antiquity. …magine a valuable, illustrated historic book of 655 pages placed in your county courthouse. Person after person comes in and looks it over. One rips out a leaf and stuffs it in his pocket. Another, somewhat more careful, takes out his penknife and removes an illustration, but in so doing destroys the reading matter on the opposite side of the page. Some one mildly protests, saying that the pictures and pages will soon be scattered and of no value to anyone; but he is met with the reply that the book belongs to all the people and if one does not get his share now, another will. And so the destruction goes on until only fifty pages of the book are left. Then suddenly the people of the county come to realize that they have allowed the destruction of a priceless historical document, a volume which would have brought thousands of visitors to the county and thus added to its fame and to its revenue.

The destruction of this book is not fancy but fact. In California there has been found a beautiful relic of our beloved Oscar Wilde.  A simple battered a beaten trunk that survived a near disastrous fate only to be yet threatened again by a lack of preservation and soon we see a true historical significance lost. …

The Oscar Wilde Trunk is testimony to the fact that the volume was beautifully illustrated, but today the county possesses only a few battered remains.

I am begging the owner of the trunk to allow the relic to be donated to Clark Library located within UCLA. They have the resources to save this most precious item. There are about 5 real pieces (excluding books) that we can honestly say were owned by Oscar Wilde. It would be a sin if this trunk is just allowed to turn to dust in storage and never be seen by the public.

Please write send your comments to me at abbey_wells@aol.com and I will be sure to pass them on to the owner of the Oscar Wilde Trunk.

Magdalen College, Oxford … the college of Oscar Wilde, CS Lewis and Seamus Heaney

(Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2013)

Ambrose Bierce in The Wasp

Ambrose Bierce’s stinging denunciation of Oscar Wilde appeared in the March 31, 1882, edition of “The Wasp.” Wilde had spoken in San Francisco on March 27, 1882, though there is no record of what Wilde thought of Bierce’s comments. Bierce’s invective was contained in his weekly column “Prattle”:


That sovereign of insufferables, Oscar Wilde has ensued with his opulence of twaddle and his penury of sense. He has mounted his hind legs and blown crass vapidities through the bowel of his neck, to the capital edification of circumjacent fools and foolesses, fooling with their foolers. He has tossed off the top of his head and uttered himself in copious overflows of ghastly bosh. The ineffable dunce has nothing to say and says it—says it with a liberal embellishment of bad delivery, embroidering it with reasonless vulgarities of attitude, gesture and attire. There never was an impostor so hateful, a blockhead so stupid, a crank so variously and offensively daft. Therefore is the she fool enamored of the feel of his tongue in her ear to tickle her understanding.

 

Bierce’s denunciation continued:

The limpid and spiritless vacuity of this intellectual jelly-fish is in ludicrous contrast with the rude but robust mental activities that he came to quicken and inspire. Not only has he no thought, but no thinker. His lecture is mere vebal ditchwater—meaningingless, trite and without coherence. It lacks even the nastiness that exalts and refines his verse. Moreover, it is obviously his own; he had not even the energy and independence to steal it. And so, with a knowledge that would equip and idiot to dispute with a cast-iron dog, and eloquence to qualify him for the duties of a caller on a hog-ranche, and an imagination adequate to the conception of a tom-cat, when fired by contemplation of a fiddle-string, this consummate and star-like youth, missing everything his heaven-appointed functions and offices, wanders about, posing as a statute of himself, and, like the sun-smitten image of Memnon, emitting meaningless murmurs in the blaze of women’s eyes. He makes me tired.

Bierce’s amazing invective ended with:

And this gawky gowk has the divine effrontery to link his name with those of Swinburne, Rossetti and Morris—this dunghill he-hen would fly with eagles. He dares to set his tongue to the honored name of Keats. He is the leader, quoth’a, of a renaissance in art, this man who cannot draw–of a revival of letters, this man who cannot write! This little and looniest of a brotherhood of simpletons, whom the wicked wits of London, haling him dazed from his obscurity, have crowned and crucified as King of the Cranks, has accepted the distinction in stupid good faith and our foolish people take him at his word. Mr. Wilde is pinnacled upon a dazzling eminence but the earth still trembles to the dull thunder of the kicks that set him up.


A lyic also appeared in this edition of The Wasp, possibly written by Bierce:

There was a sweet infant named Wilde
A precious and crystaline child;
While sucking his playthings,
However he’d say things,
That proved that his mind was defiled.

Bierce was not apologetic for his excessively harsh criticism of Oscar Wilde. He wrote in the following week’s edition of The Wasp:

“To the many aggrieved correspondents and the few lachrymose personal friends who have done me the honor to protest against my ungentle–or as most of them prefer to say, ungentlemanly–rhapsody on Oscar Wilde, and who have made the novel suggestion that abuse is not criticsm, I beg to answer thus: 1. This is not a journal of criticsm. 2. In Mr. Wilde’s lectures there is nothing to criticise, for there is nothing of his own… .”

 

BBC News – Rupert Everett talks about playing Oscar Wilde

Actor Rupert Everett talks about the playing Oscar Wilde.

He portrays the controversial playwright in David Hare’s The Judas Kiss, which has now transferred to the West End.

BBC News – Rupert Everett talks about playing Oscar Wilde

Oh Oscar!

Manhattan Repertory to Present SOMDOMITE: THE LOVES OF OSCAR WILDE

Fresh from its third place place finish in the 2014 Thesis Theatre Festival, Somdomite: The Loves of Oscar Wilde, a play by Joshua R. Pangborn, is receiving its first NYC revival as part of the Manhattan Repertory Theatre‘s Spring New Works Festival.

Opening April 16th, 2014 at 6:30 P.M. at the Manhattan Repertory Theatre on 303 W 42nd St., 6th floor, Somdomite strips away the pleasantries of Victorian England and reveals the lives of those people most affected by the actions of Oscar Wilde‘s disastrous decisions. Additional performances are on April 17th at 6:30 and April 18th at 6:30.

Oscar Wilde once said “One should always be in love. That is the reason one should never marry.” Oscar was always in love; unfortunately, he was also married. The conflict between the men he loved and the woman he married led him to ruin. Somdomite: The Loves of Oscar Wilde tells this story: of those he loved and those lost him as he looked up at the stars from life’s gutters. Reprising his role is Thespis Theatre Festival Best Actor Nominee and 2nd place winner Dane MK as the titular playwright. Also returning are Stuart Kiczek, recently seen in Troma Film’s newest release, Return to Nuke ‘Em High, as Robbie Ross and Ellen Orlando as Lady Wilde. Joining them are newcomers Kat Myrphy as Oscar’s wide, Constance, Nick Bombicino as Oscar’s love, Bosie, and Brandon Cordeiro as Oscar’s friend, Edward.

Ticket reservations can be made by emailing MRTRESERVE@gmail.com and specifying the name of the show, date, and number of tickets required. Tickets are $20.00.

Fresh from its third place place finish in the 2014 Thesis Theatre Festival, Somdomite: The Loves of Oscar Wilde, a play by Joshua R. Pangborn, is receiving its first NYC revival as part of the Manhattan Repertory Theatre‘s Spring New Works Festival.

Opening April 16th, 2014 at 6:30 P.M. at the Manhattan Repertory Theatre on 303 W 42nd St., 6th floor, Somdomite strips away the pleasantries of Victorian England and reveals the lives of those people most affected by the actions of Oscar Wilde‘s disastrous decisions. Additional performances are on April 17th at 6:30 and April 18th at 6:30.

Oscar Wilde once said “One should always be in love. That is the reason one should never marry.” Oscar was always in love; unfortunately, he was also married. The conflict between the men he loved and the woman he married led him to ruin. Somdomite: The Loves of Oscar Wilde tells this story: of those he loved and those lost him as he looked up at the stars from life’s gutters. Reprising his role is Thespis Theatre Festival Best Actor Nominee and 2nd place winner Dane MK as the titular playwright. Also returning are Stuart Kiczek, recently seen in Troma Film’s newest release, Return to Nuke ‘Em High, as Robbie Ross and Ellen Orlando as Lady Wilde. Joining them are newcomers Kat Myrphy as Oscar’s wide, Constance, Nick Bombicino as Oscar’s love, Bosie, and Brandon Cordeiro as Oscar’s friend, Edward.

Ticket reservations can be made by emailing MRTRESERVE@gmail.com and specifying the name of the show, date, and number of tickets required. Tickets are $20.00.

Poirot takes on Oscar Wilde role and he says “couldn’t resist trading in my moustache for her heels”

Poirot star David Suchet is reported to be planning to drag himself back on to the London stage to play Lady Bracknell in Oscar Wilde’s The Importance Of Being Earnest.

 

The actor has said he “couldn’t resist trading in my moustache for her heels”.

He said that, after playing “an extraordinary character like Hercule Poirot in wonderful stories for so long, I always knew it would be a challenge to find another character as extraordinary to play. I also wanted comedy. Lady Bracknell is both.”

It would not be the first time the character, played by Dame Judi Dench in the 2002 film, has been played by a man – Brian Bedford took on the role on stage and in a film version.

The newspaper reported that the Suchet production will be directed by Adrian Noble, who worked with the actor at the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Suchet played Poirot for the last time last year after a quarter of a century in the role for the ITV shows.

The Importance Of Being Earnest, which is widely regarded as Wilde’s masterpiece, was first performed in the West End in 1895.

Foss Presents Paper on Oscar Wilde

Chris Foss, Professor of English, presented a paper entitled “Gothic Decadence: Tracing Transformations of Byron and Shelley in Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray” at the annual meeting of the Northeast Modern Language Association on April 4 in Harrisburg, Pa.