Wilde in America Oscar Wilde and the Invention of Modern Celebrity On January Oscar Wilde a twenty seven year old genius at least by his own reckoning arrived in New York The Dublin born Oxford man had made such a spectacle of himself in London with his ecc

  • Title: Wilde in America: Oscar Wilde and the Invention of Modern Celebrity
  • Author: David M. Friedman
  • ISBN: 9780393063172
  • Page: 460
  • Format: Hardcover
  • On January 3, 1882, Oscar Wilde, a twenty seven year old genius at least by his own reckoning arrived in New York The Dublin born Oxford man had made such a spectacle of himself in London with his eccentric fashion sense, acerbic wit, and extravagant passion for art and home design that Gilbert Sullivan wrote an operetta lampooning him He was hired to go to America toOn January 3, 1882, Oscar Wilde, a twenty seven year old genius at least by his own reckoning arrived in New York The Dublin born Oxford man had made such a spectacle of himself in London with his eccentric fashion sense, acerbic wit, and extravagant passion for art and home design that Gilbert Sullivan wrote an operetta lampooning him He was hired to go to America to promote that work by presenting lectures on interior decorating But Wilde had his own business plan He would go to promote himself.And he did, traveling some 15,000 miles and visiting 150 American cities as he created a template for fame creation that still works today Though Wilde was only the author of a self published book of poems and an unproduced play, he presented himself as a star, taking the stage in satin breeches and a velvet coat with lace trim as he sang the praises of sconces and embroidered pillows and himself What Wilde so presciently understood is that fame could launch a career as well as cap one.David M Friedman s lively and often hilarious narrative whisks us across nineteenth century America, from the mansions of Gilded Age Manhattan to roller skating rinks in Indiana, from an opium den in San Francisco to the bottom of the Matchless silver mine in Colorado then the richest on earth where Wilde dined with twelve gobsmacked miners, later describing their feast to his friends in London as First course whiskey Second course whiskey Third course whiskey But, as Friedman shows, Wilde was no mere clown he was a strategist From his antics in London to his manipulation of the media Wilde gave 100 interviews in America, than anyone else in the world in 1882 he designed every move to increase his renown There had been famous people before him, but Wilde was the first to become famous for being famous Wilde in America is an enchanting tale of travel and transformation, comedy and capitalism an unforgettable story that teaches us about our present as well as our past.

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      Published :2018-09-27T18:08:02+00:00

    One thought on “Wilde in America: Oscar Wilde and the Invention of Modern Celebrity”

    1. Got a little bogged down in the details/I'm not convinced that an entire book was needed on this narrow topic. HOWEVER, I was still wildly (pun intended) entertained, and Friedman's comparison of Oscar Wilde as a brand and our modern interpretations of celebrity/fame was fascinating.

    2. It's a clever theory, exhaustively researched and presented. I often felt like I was reading a particularly long conference report from a teammate. That said, reading a book full of Oscar Wilde is an amusing journey from one witticism to the next. Though I've read quite a bit about Wilde, there was new content for me since most of what I'd read didn't speak much to his time in America. I do feel like the author made his point and then repeated the point. And then repeated it again for extra meas [...]

    3. With so many books out there about Oscar Wilde, a new book has to justify itself by presenting new information, or old stories in a new bottle. David M. Friedman accomplishes this by recasting Wilde as the first true celebrity, known simply for being known, making a spectacle of himself, and creating a public persona in which image is more important than truth.With chapter titles such as "Work the Room," "The Subject is Always You" and "Promote Is Just Another Word for Provoke," the book breathe [...]

    4. A generally wonderful account of the young Oscar Wilde's American tour of 1882, "Wilde in America" is of course rich in outrageous anecdotes and bon mots, and peopled with a very surprising cast of characters (and I DO mean characters) he encountered on his coast-to-coast lecture tour. This tour was underwritten by impresario D'Oyly Carte, primarily to give Americans some context for the 'aesthetic' type Gilbert and Sullivan were satirizing in their new comic opera "Patience" -- but Wilde clever [...]

    5. It's hard to argue that it's a well researched book, it is, however, it's not as well researched as it ought to be. But one has to keep in mind that the legends surrounding Oscar Wilde continue to grow all the time. I've read some books in my time about him and indeed one book writes one thing and another book a little later will not refer to the incident, event or oral occasion anywhere or even slightly allude to it. As with all great people, whether famous, infamous or both one does have to ta [...]

    6. Disclaimer: While I aim to be unbiased, I received a copy of this for free to reviewOkay, I’ll admit that at first I was worried that this was going to be a difficult read – how could it not be, with a title like ‘Wilde in America: Oscar Wilde and the Invention of Modern Celebrity‘? But I needn’t have worried – this turned out to be an awesome read, hence the high rating.The book effectively follows Wilde’s travels across America, where he arrived as a nobody and left as an interna [...]

    7. I'm torn. There was a lot to like about this book. The look at Wilde as one of the first, if not the first, modern celebrity was intriguing and fun to consider. It was a fascinating look at a man whose bread and butter at the time was being fascinating. The fact that he latter showed he had the skills to back it up, makes it even better. However, it seemed that the story would have been improved if told in a long article rather than a 250+ page book. It did get a little repetitive. Though just a [...]

    8. Who knew Oscar Wilde toured the US to extensively? I certainly didn't. He even visited my hometown! Wow. This book chronicles his tour across the US to promote, what lease, himself! Wilde only had one book of poems published at the time (and it wasn't particularly well received). His plan was to be famous for being famous. He created the formula used today by so many reality stars or stars just to be stars (can you say Kardashian?): get yourself in the public eye; make a spectacle of yourself; s [...]

    9. Terrible as it may be to admit, before I read this book I couldn't have told you definitely whether or not Oscar Wilde ever visited America. After the book I can say with assurancey, did he EVER visit America! The scope of his journey, the experiences he had and the way his celebrity grew and grew as the trip went on was quite a marvel to read about. The read itself, though it didn't appear to be of the most scholarly nature, was easy and breezy. No wonder THE showman of the era (P.T. Barnum) wa [...]

    10. Interesting biography focusing on Oscar Wilde's cross country speaking tour of America. He was young, scholarly and effete. He had no professional successes and was mocked in England. So when a play about his dandified type was being produced in America he was paid to go promote this type. Instead of being insulted he used it as an opportunity to promote himself. His talks were both successes and failures but after a year of traveling throughout the U.S. and meeting people the most important peo [...]

    11. It was tough to rate this book. If you'd asked me to rate the first half, it would have gotten five stars. The second half, not so many. For some reason, the second half of the book was more concerned with newspapers and journalists and politics than Oscar himself. The first part, however, was a boundingly great read. So sad that a man so unique came to such a sad and early end. I love Oscar Wilde!

    12. This book was chosen for me to read as "something you might like." I've read a great deal about Oscar Wilde over the years, so I can't say that anything in this book was fresh to me other than the section on Napoleon Sarony, a famous photographer of his day and best known for the promotional shots he took of Wilde prior to his American lectures. Those images (see the book cover) have become iconic over time.

    13. I learned two things from this book:1. Wilde's fame _launched_ his literary career, rather than vice-versa; that before Dorian Gray &c, Wilde was a celebrity in the modern fame-for-fame's-sake way. (Friedman's second thesis -- that Wilde was the first 'modern celebrity' -- is indefensible.)2. Biographies are boring.

    14. While I enjoyed reading David M. Friedman's book, I was very disappointed in the ending. I thought it was completely unnecessary to go into a lengthy discourse about Oscar's final years. That had nothing whatever to do with Oscar's time in America. It would been better left out or Friedman could have mentioned more about Oscar's time in Canada. There was no need to go off on a tangent.

    15. Nice telling of Wilde's American tour. There were some facts I had not encountered before and the selection of illustrations is well-done.

    16. A closer look at an interesting chapter in the short but illustrious life of Oscar Wilde. Of definite interest to Wildephiles.

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