Wednesday, February 8, 1882
See Clarification Below
Buffalo Courier, February 9th, 1882
Wilde's lecture in Buffalo was a matinee, after which he caught the 6:10 PM train to Niagara (see Wilde In Niagara).
Although Wilde did not stay overnight in Buffalo, he did take a room for the day at the Tifft House.
The report of Wilde's lecture describes how he was not in evening dress for the matinee lecture so, to the disappointment of many, he was not wearing his knee-breeches.
The report also attest to Wilde's growing ability as an orator stating that he was "plainly to be seen that he was speaking largely from memory".
The report contains the full text of Wilde's lecture, and an interview with him in which he confirms that his lecture content had changed considerably by this time, and would be changed further.
Main Street, Buffalo NY
Main Street just north of Lafayette Square.
* Wilde did not stay overnight in Buffalo—this was Wilde's headquarters for the day.
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 on February 6. 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 and The Decorative Arts for the first time in Chicago (his next lecture) on February 13.
See review at The Decorative Arts.
Oscar Wilde In America | © John Cooper, 2018