Oscar Wilde: Signs, Omens, Portents & Divinations

Mar 4, 2018

On this episode of Arts & Letters, we talk with creative writing professor John Vanderslice. His book The Last Days of Oscar Wilde, published by Burlesque Press, is a glimpse into the notorious life of the writer and the friends who filled his last days.

Vanderslice writes about Wilde's lesser known years: his book is a fictional account of 1898--1900, which takes up after the scandal, after the trial, and after his poem "The Ballad of Reading Gaol."

The book begins after Wilde has been released from prison and now lives in Paris. His few close friends urge him begin writing again: to start another story, another play, another poem. Despite their attempts, he only recites the poems to them he refuses to put to paper. 

This program will air on Friday, March 9 at 7:00 pm CST and Sunday, March 11 at 9:00 CST on KUAR. 

"The man sitting across from him was, only five years earlier, one of the most lionized, recognizable men in the Western world, the new king of the London Stage.  Of course, the same man, as if overnight had become toxic goods: preached about in pulpits; defamed in the press and on college campuses; on the losing end of so many strident attacks." 

Novelist John Vanderslice

John Vanderslice has published almost seventy short stories in literary journals and anthologies.  Some of these journals include Seattle Review, Sou’wester, Laurel Review, Southern Humanities Review, and Crazyhorse. 

He is the author of Island Fog, named by Library Journal as one of the Top 15 Indie Fiction titles of 2014. John has an MFA from George Mason University and a PhD from the University of Louisiana-Lafayette. He teaches at the University of Central Arkansas.

Published by Burlesque Press

He also writes and publishes poetry, nonfiction, and one-act plays.    

Thank you to musicians and songwriters Amyjo Savannah and the amazing Silas Hite for this incredible soundtrack. 

Thank you to Stickyz Rock & Roll Chicken Shack for keeping music alive and well in Arkansas. 

Generous funding for this episode was provided by the Arkansas Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Listen to the song "A Monk's Offering" by Silas Hite

Listen to the song "A Monk's Regret" by Silas Hite

Composer Silas Hite

Listen to the song "Your Heart" by Amyjo Savannah


Executive Producer & Host: J. Bradley Minnick

Producer: Mary Ellen Kubit

Recorded by: Daniel Breen

Interns: Krista Hancock, Marty Burton, and Kaitlin Strain