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, Michele 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.
Michele Mendelssohn is a literary critic and cultural historian. She is Associate Professor of English Literature at Oxford University. She earned her doctorate from Cambridge University and was a Fulbright Scholar at Harvard University. Her previous books include Henry James, Oscar Wilde, and Aesthetic Culture and two co-edited collections of literary criticism, Alan Hollinghurst and Late Victorian Into Modern (shortlisted for the 2017 Modernist Studies Association Book Prize). She has published in The New York Times, The Guardian, African American Review, Journal of American Studies, Nineteenth Century Literature, and Victorian Literature and Culture.
List of Plates Prologue: What's the matter with Oscar Wilde? PART ONE, 1854-1881 Turning Points Do You Find the World Very Hollow? Astonishing the Dons Not Having Set the World Quite on Fire PART TWO, 1882-1883 Colonel Morse's Campaign Oscar Dear Mr. Wild of Borneo, or The Paddy Life Imitates Art Is it Manhood? The War of Art Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing Son of Speranza Underground Men Going South The Confederate PART THREE, 1883-1900 Success is a Science You Have Made Your Name By the Throat Epilogue: The Private View Appendix: The Mystery of Wilde's Black Valet