Wilde Now cover

Wilde Now Discussion at Goldsmiths in London

Author Pierpaolo Martino (University of Bari, Italy) of the Italian Oscar Wilde Society will be discussing his new book of essays, Wilde Now: Performance, Celebrity and Intermediality in Oscar Wilde (Palgrave Macmillan, 2023), in London at Goldsmiths, University of London, on Friday, 24 November 2023.

This event is organised by the British Association of Decadence Studies. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit: https://bads.gold.ac.uk/2023-wilde-now

In Wilde Now: An Evening with Oscar Wilde, Pierpaolo Martino reads Wilde through our “now” (a contemporary sensibility and approach), in which literature and popular culture interrogate, and are interrogated by, critical concepts and categories such as performance, celebrity, intermediality, and consumerism.

The lecture – based on Martino’s last book, Wilde Now: Performance, Celebrity and Intermediality in Oscar Wilde (Palgrave Macmillan, 2023) – exceeds the shape and meaning of a critical introduction to the iconic Irish author, and turns into a drama of five different acts/moments in Wilde’s life and work: his early performances in Dublin, London, and Oxford; the 1882 American tour; his successful season of the first half of the 1890s; his prison years; and finally his glorious resurrection in contemporary pop culture.

Most importantly, in this lecture Martino approaches these moments through contemporary rewritings and performances of “Oscar Wilde” in the fields of cinema, music, and literature by such artists as Stephen Fry (who played Oscar in the 1997 film Wilde by Brian Gilbert), Al Pacino (director of the 2011 docufilm Wilde Salomè), Rupert Everett (director and protagonist of the 2018 The Happy Prince), David Hare (author of the 1998 play The Judas Kiss), Gyles Brandreth (author of the Oscar Wilde Murder Mysteries Series) and pop icons and musicians such as David Bowie, Morrissey, Nick Cave, Neil Tennant, Gavin Friday, and Neil Hannon.

Through these artists and their awareness of the importance of being/playing Oscar in their specific worlds and cultural contexts, Martino will prove that Wilde can be conceived as a subversive, critical role one might successfully perform and appropriate, now more than ever.

During the lecture excerpts from films and performances by the directors, actors and musicians mentioned above will be shown and discussed.

Pierpaolo Martino is Associate Professor of English Literature at the University of Bari, Italy. His fields of enquiry include Wilde Studies, Cultural Studies, and Word and Music Studies. He has published on Shakespeare, Oscar Wilde, Virginia Woolf, Colin MacInnes, Alan Sillitoe, Philip Larkin, Kamau Brathwaite, Michael Ondaatje, Paul Auster, Hari Kunzru, Hanif Kureishi, Linton Kwesi Johnson, Salman Rushdie, Nick Cave, Morrissey, and Radiohead. He is the author of six monographs: Virginia Woolf: la musica del faro (2003), Down in Albion: studi sulla cultura pop inglese (2007), Mark the Music: The Language of Music in English Literature from Shakespeare to Salman Rushdie (Aracne 2012), La Filosofia di David Bowie: Wilde, Kemp e la musica come teatro (Mimesis 2016), Leggere Ziggy. David Bowie e la letteratura inglese da George Orwell a Hanif Kureishi (Mimesis 2022), Wilde Now: Performance, Celebrity and Intermediality in Oscar Wilde (Palgrave Macmillan 2023). He is the editor of Wilde World: Una tavola rotonda su Oscar Wilde (2022) with Laura Giovannelli and of Oscar Wilde in the Third Millennium: Approaches, Directions, Re-evaluations (a special issue of the Italian review Textus: English Studies in Italy) with Stefano Evangelista, Gino Scatasta, and Laura Giovannelli.