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Oscar Wilde and His Circle

Summer Seminars and Institutes for College and University Teachers

Postmark Deadline: March 1, 2012

“Oscar Wilde and His Circle” is a five-week college and university faculty seminar for sixteen participants to explore the life and work and cultural milieu of Oscar Wilde.  The seminar, conducted by Joseph Bristow and hosted by UCLA’s Center for Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century Studies, “provides a new group of participants with unique access to a wealth of unpublished documents that throw special light on this legendary Irish writer.” Moreover, this is a “special opportunity to study the complete span of Wilde’s lively career from the 1870s to the late 1890s in relation to an unmatched quantity of manuscript sources.”  Participants benefit from the opportunity to make use of a renowned rare book library, where they can identify, locate, and evaluate a range of materials including playbills, theatre programs, and photographs.  The seminar discussions delve into scholarship on Wilde and various interpretations of his life and work.  Readings for the seminar cover a diverse range of topics: Wilde’s poetry, criticism and fiction including “The Decay of Lying,” “The Critic as Artist,” “The Canterville Ghost,” “The Portrait of Mr. W. H.,” The Picture of Dorian Gray, Lady Windermere’s Fan, The Importance of Being Earnest,  An Ideal Husband, De Profundis, and The Ballad of Reading Gaol.  Secondary sources to be read and discussed include: Richard Ellmann, Oscar Wilde; Merlin Holland, The Wilde Album; Josephine Guy and Ian Small, Oscar Wilde’s Profession: Writing and the Culture Industry in the Late Nineteenth Century; Nicholas Frankel, Oscar Wilde’s Decorated Books; John Gray, Silverpoints; and Robert Hichens, The Green Carnation.

Dates: June 25-July 27 (5 weeks)
Grantee Institutions: University of California, Los Angeles
Location: Los Angeles, CA

About NEH Summer Seminars and Institutes for College and University Teachers

Each year the NEH’s Division of Education Programs offers teachers opportunities to study a variety of humanities topics in Summer Seminars and Institutes. Each NEH Summer Seminar includes sixteen participants working in collaboration with one or two leading scholars. Participants have access to a major research collection, with time reserved to pursue individual projects.

Amount of Award

NEH Summer Scholars are awarded fixed stipends to help cover travel costs, books and other research expenses, and living expenses. Stipend amounts are based on the length of the NEH Summer Seminar or Institute: $2,100 (2 weeks), $2,700 (3 weeks), $3,300 (4 weeks), $3,900 (5 weeks), or $4,500 (6 weeks).


NEH Summer Seminars and Institutes are designed primarily for teachers of American undergraduate students. Qualified independent scholars and those employed by museums, libraries, historical societies, and other organizations may be eligible to compete provided they can effectively advance the teaching and research goals of the project.

You may request information about as many projects as you like, but you may apply to no more than two NEH Summer Programs (seminars, institutes, or Landmarks workshops) and you may attend only one.

Please note:

Adjunct faculty, community college faculty and first-time participants are encouraged to apply.

Up to two seminar spaces and three institute spaces are reserved for current full-time graduate students in the humanities.

How to Apply

For more information and application instructions, please visit the program website listed above.