Oscar Wilde à Montréal [mai 1882]

Oscar Wilde à New York, 1882. Source: Wikipédia

En 1882, l’écrivain d’origine irlandaise Oscar Wilde visitait Toronto et Montréal dans le cadre d’une tournée nord-américaine où il a donné plusieurs conférences. Voici quelques extraits d’articles de journaux concernant sa visite à Montréal.

La Patrie, 15 mai 1882

Oscar Wilde, le seul, le grand Oscar, l’apôtre de l’esthétique, de la culotte, de la crinière à la Chapleau et de la jaquette de velours est en ville et fera ce soir une conférence sur  »l’art dans la décoration ». Tous les cerveaux brûlés, les femmes histériques [sic] et les gommeux décavés sont particulièrement invités à aller entendre et applaudir le seul véritable, l’original et superlativement incroyable Oscar.

The Daily Witness, 15 mai 1882


The leader of the aesthetic school has arrived in town, and is staying at the Windsor. Last evening, he was entertained at diner by members of the St. James Club, and was made an honorary member. Today he visits the convent of the Sacred Heart and other places of interest in and about Montreal. Tonight he gives his first and only lecture in Montreal at Queen’s Hall on « Art decoration » and not on the « English Renaissance » or « English Reminiscences » as announced in some of  the city newspapers. The subject is said to be an intensely interesting one, and this, coupled with the fame of the talented lecturer and the praise-worthy object to which the proceeds are to be devoted, should  ensure a bumper house.

The Daily Witness, 16 mai 1882


Oscar Wilde on art decoration – The celebrated costume – Art in simple things

The Queen’s Hall was crowded last night. Not only curious seekers after the new and the queer, but men and women who take a deep interest in questions of art, were there in large numbers. About half and hour after the advertised time Mr. Wilde appeared. He was clad in the now famous black velvet old fashioned coat, waistcoat and knee-breeches, black silk hose and buckled shoes. Lace cuffs at the wrists, and lace collar surrounding the neck and falling gracefully over the chest, completed, with the flowing locks, a picturesque costume. After Dr. F. W. Campbell had briefly introduced the lecturer, who had very liberally met the committee’s overture, the tall from advanced, and stood with head erect, body thrown back, and hands clasped in front. Every now and then, the attitude would change, the left hand resting on the hip, while the right hand waved emphasis to emphatic sentences, toyed with a bunch of heavy gold seals, or rested gently on the little desk.


We had here one of the essentials of art sunlight. Mr. Wilde said that when he went up the hill behind this lovely city, he was delighted with the clear atmosphere, and hope they will never allow it to be polluted with the smoke of factories and tall chimneys, which no man had a right to bring in their midst.


Mr. Wilde was heartly applauded as he finished his lecture, and without more ado bowed himself on the platform. He gives another lecture in the Queen’s Hall, by special request, on Saturday afternoon, at half past two. (voir The Daily Witness, 22 mai 1882) The object will be the same – the fund of the Women’s Hospital. The subject will be « Exterior and Interior House Decoration » bring the practical application of  the principle of the aesthetic theory to exterior and interior house decoration, and to dress and personal ornamentsL the value of art in education, and the relation of arts to morals.

La Patrie, 17 mai 1882

On dit que le fameux Oscar Wilde a reçu plusieurs invitations des premières familles de notre ville. Ils les auraient refusées presque toutes. La vue de la ville sur la montagne a, paraît-il, frappé son imagination de poète.

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