Trinity is launching a digital version of its valuable Oscar Wilde collection this evening, which is to be available to the public free of charge. Taking place just one day after Wilde’s birthday, the launch honours one of Trinity’s most notable alumni on what would have marked his 164th year. Vice-Provost and Seamus Heaney Professor of Irish Writing, Chris Morash, is hosting the event.
Michèle Mendelssohn, Associate Professor of English at the University of Oxford, is to present a public lecture to mark the launch, entitled “Irish Eccentric to Global Icon: Making Oscar Wilde”. Mendelssohn is the author of the 2018 Wilde biography, “Making Oscar Wilde”, and her lecture will share some of the research that underpinned her writing. Mendelssohn’s book charts Wilde’s rise to fame through his tour of the United States, and looks the public perception of Wilde linked to his Irish identity at that time.
The Wilde collection in Trinity College Library features over 150 items including letters, photographs, theatre programmes and items of memorabilia, as well as a new catalogue of the Oscar Wilde book collection, consisting of over 500 printed items. These are all to be made available to a global audience for free via the Library’s main Digital Collections platform.
The Wilde collection is the only one of its kind held in a public institution in Ireland, and was acquired by The Library of Trinity College Dublin in 2011 from London-based rare book dealer Julia Rosenthal.
The Library’s Head of Research Collections, Laura Shanahan, commented on the significance of the digital collection, stating: “The Oscar Wilde Collection held here at the Library of Trinity College Dublin is unparalleled in giving a unique insight to this remarkable man and his experiences during the most challenging period of his life.”
Shanahan added that “In making this collection available online, fans and researchers around the world will now have unfiltered access to this material, which until very recently was in private hands.”
The launch of the new digital collection is to take place this evening in the Long Room Hub Arts and Humanities Research Institute.