On St. Patrick's Day (March 17) during his lecture tour of north America , Oscar Wilde happened to be in St. Paul, Minnesota.

He had lectured the previous evening at the Opera House on  The Decorative Arts , and on St.Patrick's Day he returned to the same venue  to attended a patriotic gathering, one of several events held that day in St. Paul, a city with a large Irish population, to observe the occasion. Despite inclement weather, the Opera House was full for a series of addresses interspersed with vocal and instrumental selections. 

Towards the end of proceedings, Wilde was called upon to say a few impromptu words. Clearly moved by the Irish sentiment abroad, and some favorable mention of his mother's (Speranza) nationalistic poetry, he gave what can now be seen as a rare, and perhaps even uncharacteristic, speech about Irish patriotism, albeit from the perspective of the Arts.

Daily Globe (St. Paul) March 18, 1882, 1

Opposite is a portion of the local newspaper review of the event.

Recommended reading:


Search Site

Oscar Wilde In America |  © John Cooper, 2019