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Oscar Wilde


“It is a vulgar error to suppose
that America was ever discovered.
It was merely detected.”


From The Berkeleyan:

On Thursday afternoon last [March 30, 1882], Oscar Wilde visited the University. He was accompanied by Mr. [William Dallam] Armes, ‘82, who escorted him through the Library, Museum and to other points of interest. Mr. Wilde expressed himself as intensely pleased with the University and was glad to see that the people of California take such an interest in educational matters. After leaving Berkeley Mr. Armes dined with Mr. Wilde at his rooms in Oakland.


Oscar in Berkeley

Under the guidance of his brilliant young local apostle, the prophet of High Art braved the perils of plug-uglies and Barbary Coast hoodlums to the extent of visiting the University. The news of his approach rapidly spread, and the general interest in the Library suddenly increased. We are happy to announce that the students restrained their inherent depravity, and that Mr. Wilde departed uninjured. Considering the discreditable conduct of which he was the victim at some more pretentious institutions, we have reason to congratulate ourselves. We could wish that curiosity had not led to quite so much unseemly staring; but in this respect outsiders were more to blame than students. One thing, however, surprises us. Knowing the considerate nature of the youthful Master of Ceremonies, we did not expect that he would inflict upon his guest the gratuitous cruelty of a visit to the Art Gallery. But the deed was done, and the look of anguish with which the crushed lily gazed on the gorgeous frescoes would have melted a harder heart than ours. It is also a subject of regret that the poet was not brought to the office of The Berkeleyan to see the patent machine with which we grind out all our poetry. But sighs are useless. Oscar, adieu!

Bacon Hall Library

From the Berkeley Advocate:

The University was honored on Thursday afternoon last by a visit from Oscar Wilde.

Mr. Wilde made the tour of the grounds and buildings in company with Secretary Bonte and expressed himself much pleased with everything. As it was vacation, the only building he could go through was the library which is open every afternoon. He was shown over the library and looked at the art collection, and went through the green-houses. As soon as the report was spread that the aesthete was on the grounds it seemed the whole population of Berkeley flocked to the buildings to catch a sight of him, and in most cases their curiosity was satisfied for Mr. Wilde walked around the grounds as any other man would. It may be the Faculty will engage him to deliver an assembly lecture.

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Read More About It

  • The Berkeley Advocate, vol. 6, no. 14 (April 1, 1882)
  • The Berkeleyan, vol. XIII, no. 6 (April 3, 1882)

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