News about Oscar Wilde in March

Dear readers of my blog,

February has been an extremely busy month with quite a few surprises to date. One was the chance to look through the Newsletter of the Italian Oscar Wilde Society which on page four of the autumn 2021 issue features my own edition of The Soul of Man Under Socialism with Elsinor Verlag among other works by eminent Wildeans from different countries.

While that piece of news had been divulged to me by the editor of the Newsletter some months ago, I had not been able to verify it until today. As it happens it was only just over a week ago that John Cooper, blogger of Oscar Wilde in America, contacted me with some queries about this website. We had an interesting exchange, and I also had a look at his site, which he seems to run both with gusto and with passion, seeking to uncover the sources of whatever Wilde once said or was said to have said, such as the famous dictum: “—I have nothing to declare except my genius.— ” Allegedly made when at the customs house on arrival in New York in early 1882, almost exactly 140 years ago, that is, it cannot be proved to have been by Wilde at all. He and Robert Ross may have made it up after all. But read for yourselves:

It is not uncommon that my activities concerning Oscar Wilde yield two letters or e-mail messages from different people on the same day. Such was the case in early January when I received a kind letter by an acquaintance from Leer who sent me xeroxes from a book on Parisian cafés in which Wilde appears to have been a patron in the 1890s through 1900. Interestingly, not all these cafés have already come to the attention of Wilde’s major biographers. So there might be some story left to tell here as well.

With the same post, I was sent a review of my biography on Wilde and my translation cum edition of The Picture of Dorian Gray that had appeared in the year 2000. The author had quite forgotten about that piece, while it was also intriguing to read what he had to say about my new introduction to the biography, since he had freely borrowed from the original edition’s notes on various aspects of the Wilde reception in Germany to make his own article more interesting. When first writing the Wilde biography I learned from yet another literary friend, living in Heidelberg, who had once been a journalist before turning to publish academic editions of German writers Kleist and Kafka, that you quote differently when working in a journalistic vein, taking less pains than in a scholarly book to name all sources, that is. More than twenty years later, however, I want properly to restate my case on Wilde given that since 2011 I have been working on establishing a series of books by and on Wilde in German and English, having added a bilingual calendar to the programme in 2015. All titles pages can now be found on this website, and I can tell you that the new edition for 2023 is already under way while both a black and white re-issue of the “Calendar for every year” as a “Birthday Calendar” and a new edition using collage work that Ulrich Hoepfner added colours to are now being prepared for the printers. All these calendars are going to be sold to sponsor work with contemporary witnesses and their descendants at the school I teach, Ulrichsgymnasium Norden in East Frisia.

Tanya Josefowitz whose name has been coupled with that of Wilde several times in this blog has not only written I Remember, her memoir about the family’s flight from Nazi Germany in 1938, she has also written about her bird Capinero. This book is soon going to be published in a bilingual edition by Elsinor Verlag.

Doing my research on Tanya Kagan Josefowitz, as she is also known in artist circles, means to discover more and more common ground between her and Oscar Wilde. She did draw fashion in the 1940s when in New York, and when in America, Wilde began his career as a fashion icon, writer and speaker on dress – as I learn from the Oscar Wilde in America blog. So let’s continue this adventure, which made it very easy for me to help design the cover for Capinero, for indulging in colours and touching both fabrics such as linen and leather is something both artists did not only do in the performing arts but in their own lives something that you can also see for yourselves when typing “Tanya Josefowitz video” into your browser. You are going to find a private video, and you only need to type the name of the foremost German harbour, point of departure for many emigrants, too, or contact me about it in order to find out more about that very interesting artist and her life in Germany, Europe, and America.

All best wishes,
stay hale and healthy,

Jörg W. Rademacher

P.S. As for “Wilde and dress”, take time for this month’s calendar texts. While by Gustave Flaubert, they might also show where Wilde’s own sensuality came from.

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