Witty, inspiring, and charismatic, Oscar Wilde is one of the Greats of English literature. Today, his plays and stories are beloved around the world. But it was not always so. His afterlife has given him the legitimacy that life denied him.
Making Oscar Wilde reveals the untold story of young Oscar's career in Victorian England and post-Civil War America. Set on two continents, it tracks a larger-than-life hero on an unforgettable adventure to make his name and gain international acclaim. 'Success is a science,' Wilde believed, 'if you have the conditions, you get the result.'
Combining new evidence and gripping cultural history, Michèle Mendelssohn dramatizes Wilde's rise, fall, and resurrection as part of a spectacular transatlantic pageant. With superb style and an instinct for story-telling, she brings to life the charming young Irishman who set out to captivate the United States and Britain with his words and ended up conquering the world. Following the twists and turns of Wilde's journey, Mendelssohn vividly depicts sensation-hungry Victorian journalism and popular entertainment alongside racial controversies, sex scandals, and the growth of Irish nationalism. This ground-breaking revisionist history shows how Wilde's tumultuous early life embodies the story of the Victorian era as it tottered towards modernity. Riveting and original, Making Oscar Wilde is a masterful account of a life like no other.
Michèle Mendelssohn is an Associate Professor of English and American literature from 1830 to the present day teaching at Mansfield College, Oxford. She has also taught at Edinburgh University, Boston University, Harvard, Cambridge, Heidelberg, and McGill University. Her research ranges from the late 19th century to the present day, and covers both sides of the Atlantic. Her first book, Henry James, Oscar Wilde and Aesthetic Culture (2007) explored why being ‘aesthetic’ mattered so much to Victorians on both sides of the Atlantic. She has written for The New York Times and The Guardian, and has been interviewed in The Scotsman and on CBC radio. Her latest book is Making Oscar Wilde (2018).