Looking across the Atlantic and back to Paris in 1899

Dear readers of my blog,

while it is tropical nights in East Friesia rather than dog days that cause insomnia, making us wake up all too early for everyone’s liking, it is the early bird who also feeds on pictures that contextualize Oscar Wilde’s summer outing in the environs of Paris. John Cooper, in his latest blog has just posted a collection of 14 period picture postcards the look of which made me think of how the individual Wilde allows us to perceive what was already at stake for everyone else.

Thinking back four years only, when we also lived through a tropical summer, when our fig tree, still a potted plant then, produced three delicious figs – very rare in our climate, I can tell you! – only those endowed with a particularly sensitivity or those wounded to the marrow by our dire times would have had an inkling of what was to come. So go for the website of “Oscar Wilde in America” and have a look at those pics.

All best wishes,

Jörg W. Rademacher



Jörg W. Rademacher says: (mind, local time, New York City!)

July 17, 2022 at 5:20 am

Again, this is very interesting, offering a glimpse of how photographers, not Impressionist painters perceived this place around the turn of the last century. It is, though, the calm before the storm on the one hand, World War One, that is, that would ravage the Marne region very early on, and in terms of how private lives would be hit on the other hand – just as Wilde’s own public and private lives had been destroyed a few years before. In all this, Wilde was a forerunner, something we might be able to understand better now after almost 30 months of a pandemic.


John Cooper says:

July 17, 2022 at 12:28 pm

Thank you Jörg for your insightful response.

Having recently announced that I would soon be able to talk more about how Oscar Wilde and the Shoah as well as the decade-long run-up are linked, I now see that even in France there is the link between poisoned language and poisoned thinking as propounded by Anti-Semites – all of which were to influence the general public, just as, on an individual plane and in fiction, Wilde had shown Dorian Gray to be both attracted by such poisonous ideas and to attract others later on for being the author of similarly poisonous language or thinking. Any words or thinking can be dangerous.

Since such matters are complex, I am quite happy to add these ideas in the context of the pics I had the pleasure to discover online this morning,

once again, have a nice summer, enjoy whatever there is, autumn and winter might be loaded with discontent and also become very cold. So at least keep your hearts warm,

keep hale and healthy,

Jörg W. Rademacher

Oscar Wilde in America.blog

Image 1: Der Mann im roten Rock (Julian Barnes; tr. Gertraude Krueger; Köln: Kiepenheuer & Witsch 2021)

If you need some summer reading, perhaps you might want to turn to a recent novel by Julian Barnes which I received as a gift some months ago and which I want to take not on a desert island but to the smallest of the seven East Friesian Islands.

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