Oscar Wilde's Italian Dream 1875-1900

Renato Miracco

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Introduction by Philip Kennicott. Text by Renato Miracco

ISBN: 9788862087148

"Miracco has brought to life the obscure finale of Oscar Wilde’s existence. We thought we knew everything about Oscar Wilde but Miracco has added a whole new chapter of pain and pleasure." Edmund White

In' Oscar Wilde’s Italian Dream 1875-1900', leading Wilde author Renato Miracco has combined written research with visual iconographic material - from Wilde’s earliest heady trips to Italy as an Oxford student to his final days in France and Italy in 1900 after his incarceration in Reading Gaol, and his voluntary exile from Great Britain.

Italy, and the larger world outside of London, was essential to the sensitivity and awareness of Wilde’s identity, to his contributions to the prison reform, to his challenges to the social norms and sexual stereotypes in his last years. Latin formed the basis of a proper English gentleman’s education-and Italy presented a landscape which animated and exacerbated social and personal conflict for young men such as Wilde. It also offered a great deal of sexual liberty compared to the oppressive moral atmosphere of England at that time. The images Miracco has incorporated in this volume (including photos that Wilde received from the gay German photographer, Von Gloeden) are mainly unknown from private collections, and together with letters, reminiscences, magazine and newspaper articles (along with derogatory articles about Wilde written by the Italian press) play a key role in placing Wilde’s character, and an entire generation, in a complex context - not only literary, but also visual. Reading about Naples, Rome, Palermo, Sicily, and Capri of that time, you see it as it must have appeared in the eyes of the writer.

'Oscar Wilde’s Italian Dream 1875-1900' is a major addition to the canon of one of the world’s greatest literary figures. The introduction to the book is by Philip Kennicott the Pulitzer Prize-winning art and architecture critic of The Washington Post.


Renato Miracco is a curator and critic who was awarded the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic for Cultural Achievements in 2018. He served as Cultural Attaché for the Italian Embassy in Washington from 2010 to 2018 and as advisor to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Italy. Miracco has curated major exhibitions with Tate Modern in London, with The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and with London’s Estorick Collection. His passion for Wilde dates from the early 1980s when he wrote his first essay on Wilde’s stays in Italy entitled Verso il sole. Cronaca del soggiorno napoletano (Colonnese, 1981). Miracco’s new book on Wilde is based on new materials that he found during the last few years.
language:english pages: 160 illustrations: 33 binding: hardbound release: April 2020
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