David M. Friedman’s Wilde in America (Norton, 2014) serves a filling account of Oscar Wilde’s historical trip to America and its implications for both Wilde and America.
Starting with Wilde’s arrival in New York in January 1882, Friedman narrates in rich detail the nearly year-long journey of Wilde through the United States where he took the center stage not so much in literary circles as becoming the object of media’s obsession and an attraction for local elites, particularly women. Hence, concludes Friedman, Wilde virtually became the originator of modern celebrity culture in America while he lectured across the U.S. on the aesthetic movement in art.
Wilde in America has good deal of history of the American society of the time and the author blends it pretty smoothly with Wilde’s life story. It’s a travelogue, history, biography, literary arts, and cultural study—all in one continues story. Those having a reading interest in any/all of these would find this book a good pick.
Reposted from Word Matters!