Making Oscar Wilde by Michele Mendelssohn

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A fresh look at Oscar Wilde’s English, Irish, and American contexts...A familiar biography embedded in a lively cultural history.
-Kirkus

Synopsis

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.
 

About Michele Mendelssohn

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Published May 18, 2018 by OUP Oxford. 368 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Travel. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for Making Oscar Wilde
All: 2 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 0

Kirkus

Above average
on Apr 11 2018

A fresh look at Oscar Wilde’s English, Irish, and American contexts...A familiar biography embedded in a lively cultural history.

Read Full Review of Making Oscar Wilde | See more reviews from Kirkus

Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Rachel Cooke on Jun 05 2018

it is Michèle Mendelssohn’s account of these that constitute the backbone of her revelatory narrative – a retelling of Wilde’s American adventure that genuinely makes you rethink vital elements of his life and work...

Read Full Review of Making Oscar Wilde | See more reviews from Guardian
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