Author David Friedman to Discuss New Book on Oscar Wilde in Free Public Lecture

Author David Friedman will deliver a free public lecture on his latest book, Wilde In America: Oscar Wilde and The Invention of Modern Celebrity, which details Wilde’s American lecture tour of 1882, at 12:20 p.m. Thursday, March 12 in the Stedman Gallery. Following the talk, guests will be invited to participate in an informal question-and-answer session.

Friedman’s talk, hosted by Rutgers–Camden’s departments of fine arts and English, will be presented in coordination with the theater program’s spring production of Wilde’s most famous play, “The Importance of Being Earnest.” Wilde in America cover

Friedman argues that Wilde more or less invented our modern notion of celebrity, especially during his American lecture tour of 1882. As part of that tour, Wilde famously made a stop in Camden, just a few blocks from the future site of the Rutgers–Camden campus to pay a visit to the revered poet, Walt Whitman. The two shared a bottle of Whitman’s homemade elderberry wine and bonded quickly, according to sources of the time. Friedman’s insight into this moment of Camden literary history is a key element of his book, which was recently praised in The Boston Globe and The New York Times Book Review.

Friedman was a staff writer for the Philadelphia Daily News and New York Newsday before he began writing books. In addition to his latest book, he is the author of A Mind of Its Own: A Cultural History of the Penis, which was published in 20 countries, and The Immortalists: Charles Lindbergh, Dr. Alexis Carrel, and Their Daring Quest to Live Forever.

“The Importance of Being Earnest” will run from April 15 to 19 in the Walter K. Gordon Theater, located in the Fine Arts Complex.

For more information regarding the lecture or play, visit or contact Jake Hufner at (856) 225-2870 or, or Maria Buckley at (856) 225-6176 or

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