Private Property sign in foreground with beach behind it | Still from "Access Denied" on SoCal Connected

A Collection of 'Wilde' Adventures

Just off of Adams Boulevard is a buried treasure most Angelenos don't even know exists.

The William Andrews Clark Memorial Library is home to the largest collection of original works and witticisms penned by Irish writer Oscar Wilde.

Despite competition from neighboring book collectors, library founder William Andrews Clark, Jr. never shied away from collecting and paying tribute to Wilde's greatest written treasures in the early 1900s. Clark deeded the library to UCLA upon his death in the 1930s.

For Wilde scholars and researchers, the rare collection offers a plethora of invaluable material ranging from poems, rare manuscripts, to handwritten notebooks filled with doodles.

Wilde -- who was known for his outlandish attire and long, flowing hair -- was a leading figure in the British aesthetics movement. He is popularly known for plays and novels like "The Importance of Being Earnest" and "The Picture of Dorian Gray" -- all of which exist at the library. Later on in his career, Wilde was imprisoned and tried for gross indecency by the British crown for his homosexual relationships. The imprisonment tarnished Wilde's career as an author, but also helped him gain legions of new fans.

In this segment of "SoCal Connected," reporter Conor Knighton visits this special library for a rare look inside the world's largest collection of works by Wilde.

Featuring Interviews With:

  • Rebecca Fenning Marschall, librarian, Clark Memorial Library, UCLA
  • Joseph Bristow, professor of English, UCLA

 

 

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