The Wilde Album

The Wilde Album

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by Merlin Holland
     
 

The most comprehensive collection of photographs and images of Wilde—compiled by his only grandson.

Oscar Wilde was one of the first and unquestionably one of the greatest self-publicists who ever lived. With that exceptional streak of modernity that characterized much of his life and work, he understood the power of the image in his campaign to promote the

Overview

The most comprehensive collection of photographs and images of Wilde—compiled by his only grandson.

Oscar Wilde was one of the first and unquestionably one of the greatest self-publicists who ever lived. With that exceptional streak of modernity that characterized much of his life and work, he understood the power of the image in his campaign to promote the self. As early as his Oxford days, he had himself photographed with his contemporaries in loud checked suits of the latest fashion. The Wilde Album now publishes more of these images of Oscar than have ever been seen together before, as well as later photographs, some previously unpublished, from the family archive, including rare snapshots of Oscar in his last years in Italy; the famous sitting in New York for Napoleon Sarony in fur coat and velvet suit; and the good, the bad, and the vicious caricatures, cartoons, and lithographs.

In the accompanying text, Merlin Holland examines Wilde's life as reflected in the photographs and images, paying particular attention to his relationships with friends, family, and lovers, as well as the profound influence of his Irish upbringing. He also investigates the reasons for the adverse opinions his work engered and the background to the famous legal battles that finally led to imprisonment and exile.

Editorial Reviews

Evelyn Toynton
Merlin Holland, Wilde's grandson, has published "The Wilde Album," which brings together hundreds of images of Wilde and his circle, accompanied by a biographical text....Holland has no dramatic revelations or bold new theories to offer, but his narrative serves to remind us all over again of what an extraordinary man his grandfather was -- and how much he influenced the art of the 20th century. -- Evelyn Toynton, New York Times Book Review
Kirkus Reviews
What did Wilde look like at the strange age of two? He wore a demure blue velvet dress with lace collar, sleeves, and hemþbut even so, he looked dolorous. This and other illustrative tidbits are graciously surrendered by Holland, who is Wilde's grandson. "To be Irish was to be subversive," notes Holland in the essay that accompanies his brief pictorial biography, and the paintings and photographs he has assembled inevitably suggest the longueurs and the final melancholy of Wilde's rebellion. Svelte knee britches showed off neat legs and patent-leather dancing shoes as the bachelor Oscar reclined on a monumental fur-strewn chaise. Apart from documentary miscellanies, we also catch glimpses of caricatures, cartoons, Aubrey Beardsley book covers, and Wilde-inspired advertisements (such as one for Madame Fontaine's Bosom Beautifier, apparently championed by the wag himself). On a grim note, a page of The Illustrated Police Budget of 1895 reveals the prisoner Wilde receiving a haircut, and a photo beneath it reminds us that while living in Wandsworth Gaol, after being convicted for "indecent acts," Wilde was permitted to send and get only one letter every three months. Both a dainty reprise of his life and a sad send-off when it took a slide, the album effectively evokes Wilde's sundry selves.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780805058949
Publisher:
Holt, Henry & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
04/15/1998
Pages:
194
Product dimensions:
5.36(w) x 7.28(h) x 0.70(d)

Meet the Author

Merlin Holland is a journalist and has spent the last twenty years researching his grandfather's life. He lives in London with his wife and son.

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The Wilde Album 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago