Wilde in America: Oscar Wilde and the Invention of Modern Celebrity by David M. Friedman
English | 2014 | ASIN: B00J9PQZ7E | 332 pages | ePUB | 2.8 MB
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 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.