Oscar Wilde In America

DETAiled verification of Oscar Wilde’s lecture tour of North America

San Francisco


Platt's Hall

Monday, March 27, 1882

The English Renaissance

‍Clarification ‍of ‍lecture ‍subject

‍At ‍this ‍point ‍in ‍in ‍his ‍lecture ‍tour, ‍Wilde ‍was ‍delivering ‍two ‍lectures: ‍The ‍Decorative ‍Arts ‍(which ‍was ‍an ‍adaptation ‍of ‍his ‍first ‍lecture ‍The ‍English ‍Renaissance) ‍and ‍The ‍House ‍Beautiful, ‍which ‍he ‍reserved ‍for ‍when ‍he ‍lectured ‍twice ‍in ‍the ‍same ‍city. ‍In ‍San ‍Francisco, ‍however, ‍Wilde ‍was ‍scheduled ‍to ‍lecture ‍four ‍times.

‍[See ‍Lecture ‍Titles ‍for ‍an ‍analysis ‍of ‍all ‍of ‍Wilde's ‍lecture ‍subjects.]

‍Wilde, ‍therefore, ‍resurrected ‍The ‍English ‍Renaissance ‍for ‍an ‍additional ‍lecture. ‍The ‍reason ‍he ‍had ‍previously ‍adapted ‍this ‍lecture ‍was ‍that ‍it ‍had ‍proved ‍'too ‍lengthy ‍and ‍theoretical ‍for ‍many ‍in ‍Wilde's ‍audience' ‍[1], ‍and ‍it ‍is ‍evident ‍from ‍the ‍reported ‍content ‍that ‍he ‍delivered ‍a ‍variation ‍of ‍it ‍in ‍San ‍Francisco.

‍The ‍fourth ‍lecture ‍Wilde ‍created ‍for ‍San ‍Francisco ‍was ‍Irish ‍Poets ‍and ‍Poetry ‍of ‍the ‍Nineteenth ‍Century.

‍[1] ‍Holland, ‍Merlin. ‍The ‍Complete ‍Letters ‍of ‍Oscar ‍Wilde ‍edited ‍by ‍and ‍Rupert ‍Hart-Davis, ‍London: ‍Fourth ‍Estate; ‍New ‍York: ‍Henry ‍Holt, ‍2000.


Newspaper report

San Francisco Chronicle, March 28, 1882, p.2

It's an odd thing, but anyone who disappears is said to be seen in San Francisco. It must be a delightful city and possess all the attractions of the next world.

Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray, ch. 19

Newspaper Advertisements

San Francisco Chronicle, March 26, 1882

Daily Alta California (San Francisco, CA), March 25, 1882 (below)


Platt's Hall

216 Montgomery Street, east side, just north of Bush Street, San Francisco, CA

Opened: August 6, 1860 (Henry B. Platt, contractor and proprietor)

Demolished: 1890


Wilde's base while in the Bay Area was The Palace Hotel in San Francisco.

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Oscar Wilde In America | © John Cooper, 2020