The Oscar Wilde World of Gossip


Neil Titley seems to have invented a new form of biography, one that offers not just the roots, trunks and branches of a life but gives us the foliage, blossoms and fruit too. Informative, delicious, hilarious, outrageous, touching & enthralling — a magnificent gift to the world of Wildean studies... and just so damned readable!  — Stephen Fry

Why on earth read anything else about Wilde?  If you already have the Complete Works, the Complete Letters, and a decent biography, why delve further?  Because The Oscar Wilde World of Gossip is simply unique.

Taking Wilde’s incomparable life story of mingled comedy and tragedy as its golden thread, it roams freely across an enthralling landscape well beyond the reach of search engines or academic analysis.

It reveals the extraordinary artistic and personal interplay between familiar historical figures – how various works, endeavors, dalliances, and shenanigans of the past have echoed down the decades to our own. Here is the flesh and blood detail, the minor but revealing stories, the personal quirks that inject colour into the sepia of history. As Victor Hugo wrote: ‘This is where life is, the throbbing, the shuddering of humanity’.

As a result of his research into hundreds of memoirs and journals of the period, Neil Titley has managed to unearth a sweeping panorama of the late Victorian period. Wilde is the link, but his vast international acquaintanceship is the story.

The Oscar Wilde World of Gossip is also a treasury of hilarious and mostly forgotten anecdotes - many of the best tales have not been in circulation for more than one hundred years. If the result is laughter, then what better way to celebrate the greatest wit in the English language? Wilde was right: ‘Gossip is charming – history is merely gossip’.

By any measure, it vastly enriches our understanding and appreciation for Oscar Wilde; it conjures, in sweep and detail, an era as hopelessly sunken and thoroughly lost as Atlantis. It is soaked through with sex and drugs – and more sex. And, it is utterly hilarious.

The Oscar Wilde World of Gossip will be of MAJOR interest to Wildeans, Victorianists, scholars, enthusiasts, or anyone interested in our human capacity for kaleidoscopic weirdness, striving, and grace.

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  • Over fifteen years in the making, and published in a small private edition in the UK, Universal Exports of North America presents this singular work in a magnificent, definitive edition.
  • Completely retype-set & designed, drawing on research from Philadelphia's Rosenbach library's Wilde collection, the book is produced to the highest possible standard — Deluxe softcover with foil embossed title, French flaps & colored endpapers.

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This title ships worldwide, right now!

International shipping has become wickedly expensive! Via Shopify MarketsPro we're offering the absolute cheapest reliable shipping via DHL.  For UK readers, that's £19 for a single book, £26 for two. For other countries the costs are, yes, higher. 

Note on  international "taxes" —  this includes taxes, duties, a Shopify MarketsPro 6.5%  processing fee as well as a 2.5% currency conversion fee - all in order to access the cheapest shipping costs.

Accordingly, for all international orders the base price of the book is reduced by $5 to $20. Not ideal, but best we can do. Please email to explore other/additional arrangements if desired.

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We are offering a commemorative hardcover edition by subscription. Please reserve your copy via email to Simply indicate how many copies. The subscription is non-binding and no money will be collected. When 50 subscribers are reached (out of 100 copies) the print run will be triggered and you will be notified. 

  • This collectors edition will be a deluxe, smyth-sewn (not glued) archive quality hardover. Full color dust-jacket in a mylar sleeve. Includes a letterpressed ribbon bookmark featuring designs from the first 1892 run of The Spirit Lamp. It will be produced in a numbered edition of 100.
  • The cost will be $70 (plus $20 international shipping)
And, kindly note, the soft-cover you just bought ;} now becomes a unforgettable gift or a trusty reading/lending copy!