Commentary

Interviews and Reminiscences

About this Item

Title: Mr. Oscar Wilde

Creator: Anonymous

Date: January 21, 1882

Publication information: Evening Star 21 January 1882.

Source: Our transcription is based on a digital image of a clipping in the Thomas Biggs Harned Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1842–1937, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.

Whitman Archive ID: med.00618

Contributors to digital file: Brett Barney, Nic Swiercek, and Shea Montgomerey




image 1

MR. OSCAR WILDE.

———

WHAT HE HAS TO SAY—ESTHETIC TAFFY FOR THE AMERICANS—THEY LOVE THE TRUE AND THE BEAUTIFUL—MR. WILDE ON THE TOO TOO BURLESQUES—HE THINKS "THE COLONEL" VULGAR—HE IS NOT LOOKING AFTER THE ESTATE OF HIS UNCLE.

A STAR reporter called upon Mr. Oscar Wilde, at the Arlington, yesterday, and was pleasantly greeted by the distinguished esthete. His looks and dress have been so minutely described that these points can be passed. In response to an inquiry from the reporter, Mr. Wilde said that he found a great deal more interest taken in this country in matters esthetic than he expected-"There is," he said, "much more true art here than I supposed; and true art, you now, is estheticism. I have had a great many inquiries from people who want to learn in art, and have seen a great many who have our ideas almost perfectly. I am doing all I can to encourage the spread of true taste. What I would like to see is a permanent standard of taste among the people in their lives and in all they do."

AMERICANS SHOULD NOT COPY.

"Would the standard be the same for all countries?"

"By no means. I think no greater mistake can be made than for one country to copy after another. There is an individuality of art for every people. The Americans should not copy the decorations of England. Their flowers, atmosphere and all external forms of art are different. American decoration should be entirely different from that of England r any other country. There is plenty of the beautiful in nature in this country for art's purposes without borrowing. And where there is borrowing there is a lack of individuality which makes the whole unsatisfactory."

"What is your particular object in visiting America?"

"I want to see the country; and then I want to see how far the people here can love art and how far they can be led to love art. I would like to spread the truth of art and aid humanity to form the right idea of the true relations of art to life and of life to art."

O.W. AND W.W.

There was a picture of Walt Whitman on the table. The reporter asked Mr. Wilde what he thought of America's rugged poet.

"The most delightful day I have spent," he answered, "was in Mr. Whitman's little bare room in Camden. I think Mr. Whitman is in every way one of the greatest and strongest men who have ever lived. He is the simplest and strongest man I have ever met. Eccentric? He is not; you cannot gauge great men by a foot-rule. The people in England, for whose opinion he would care, read read him, and wonder at him."


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