Oscar Wilde on St. Patrick’s Day

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How it’s New York: Oscar Wilde arrived in New York in January 1882 for a series of lectures across America.
How it’s Irish: Oscar Wilde: Irish poet, dramatist and wit.

“A Pride I Cannot Properly Acknowledge”

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On St. Patrick’s Day 1882, 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 Irish gathering, one of several events held that day in St. Paul 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 impromtu 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.

Click here for a contemporary report of what he said.

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