Oscar Wilde’s 1882 journey to America continues to fascinate, and why not?
Everyone loves a fish out of water story, so the true saga of a Victorian dandy roughing it on the wild American frontier, hanging out with (and winning over) rugged coal miners and cowboys is pretty irresistible.
(That Wilde’s garish velvet get-ups clothed a beefy 6’3″ Irishman perfectly capable of beating up bullies no doubt surprised and delighted his new admirers.)
It’s a tale that’s been told many times: in books, of course, but also in plays, movies and on television shows.
Now a new book revisits Wilde’s visit to the New World, but with a twist.
David M. Friedman’s Wilde in America presents his subject as the proto-Kardashian:
That is, as the first post-modern celebrity — one who, to borrow Daniel Boorstin’s, well, famous concept, is “famous for being famous.”