Monday, February 13, 1882
See Clarification Below
The Chicago Tribune, Feb 14, 1882
In his lectures Wilde often included local references, where possible, and while in Chicago he took the opportunity to comment on Chicago's imposing (154 feet) 1869 water tower which he called "a castellated monstrosity with pepper-boxes stuck all over it".
Many Chicagoans were offended. For the full story see The Chicago Water Tower.
Wilde lectured again in Chicago on March 11, 1882.
SE corner of State and Randolph Streets, Chicago, IL
This was the first important building designed by Adler in which he made use of his knowledge of acoustics. It was replaced in 1900, around the time Adler died, in order to build the Marshall Field & Company store, now Macy's. Wilde met Marshall Field at a reception given for him in Chicago (see below).
Occupying the block bounded by Clark, Quincy, LaSalle and Jackson Streets
* The second hotel of this name after the original was destroyed in the Chicago fire of 1871). It was itself replaced by a hotel of the same name in 1895-98.
A group of marble-front row houses at 2301-2035 South Prairie Avenue (built 1869). Mrs H.O. Stone who lived at 2035 gave a reception for Wilde at which, among others, he met department store founder Marshall Field (see below).
The Inter Ocean, Chicago 1 March 1882, 8
Around this time Wilde changed the name and content of his lecture.
Merlin Holland (Complete Letters) describes how Wilde's original lecture was 'too lengthy and theoretical for many in his audience' and that Wilde shortened and retitled it to give it wider appeal.
The new lecture became variously billed as Art Decoration, Decorative Art in America, etc., and it is probable that Wilde adapted them slightly to suit different audiences' (Holland). For this reason all variants of this lectures are listed in this chronology as 'The Decorative Arts'.
But when and where did Wilde switch from The English Renaissance to The Decorative Arts?
In an interview with Wilde printed in the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, February 8th, 1882, 4, the lecture subject is cited as The English Renaissance, but a suggestion of change had already begun with Wilde’s lecture in Utica. Kevin O'Brien in Oscar Wilde in Canada: An Apostle for the Arts (1982), posits that Wilde delivered The English Renaissance for the last time in this lecture in Buffalo on February 8 and The Decorative Arts for the first time in this his next lecture in Chicago on February 13. This appears to be a convenient demarcation.
See review at The Decorative Arts.
The Chicago Tribune, Mar 12th, 1882.
An entry by Beckson indicated on his itinerary comparison mistakenly shows an additional lecture by Wilde in Chicago two days earlier on February 11th; this is a confusion with Wilde's return visit to Chicago on March 11th. Contemporary newspapers clearly indicate that the lecture on February 13th was Wilde's first in Chicago and the lecture on March 11th his second.
Oscar Wilde In America | © John Cooper, 2018