Selected Writings of Speranza and William Wilde

BookSelected Writings of Speranza and William Wilde

Selected Writings of Speranza and William Wilde

Clemson University Press


July 21st, 2020



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This is the first contemporary edition of the scholarly writings of Jane Wilde, known as Speranza (1821–1896) and William Wilde (1815–1876), an edition of their selected poems, translations, travel writings, medical observations, literary criticism, folklore and political commentary. This project engages with contemporary scholarly interest in Wilde studies and on the influence of Ireland within the work of Oscar Wilde. As writers, intellectuals and Irish nationalists, Speranza and William Wilde themselves were key in the awakening of the Celtic Imagination with their innovative and ground-breaking work as scholars, folklorists and cultural historians of Gaelic traditions. The reputations of both Speranza and William Wilde suffered with their son’s disgrace and he was himself keenly aware of their impressive nature of their achievements, writing in his prison testament De Profunds, “She and my father had bequeathed me a name they had made noble and honoured, not merely in literature, art, archaeology, and science, but in the public history of my own country, in its evolution as a nation.” This anthology reclaims the writings of Speranza and William Wilde as part of the public history of Ireland in the nineteenth century.

Author Information

Eibhear Walshe is the Director of Creative Writing and a senior lecturer in the School of Modern English at University College Cork. His biography Kate O’Brien A Writing Life was published by Irish Academic Press in 2006 and he edited Elizabeth Bowen: Visions and Revisions for Irish Academic Press in 2008. He was a section editor for The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing: Volume 4 (Cork University Press, 2002), a contributor to the New Dictionary of Biography (Oxford University Press, 2004), and guest edited The Irish Review in 2000. His other publications include the edited collections Ordinary People Dancing: Essays on Kate O’Brien (Cork University Press 1993), Sex, Nation and Dissent ( Cork University Press:1997), Elizabeth Bowen Remembered (Four Courts Press: 1999), and The Plays of Teresa Deevy ( Mellen Press: 2003.) He co-edited Representing the Troubles (Four Courts: 2004) with Brian Cliff, Molly Keane: Centenary Essays (Four Courts: 2006) with Gwenda Young, and Imagination in the Classroom (Four Courts: 2012) with Anne Fogarty and Eilis Ni Dhuibhne. In 2011 he edited Elizabeth Bowen’s Selected Irish Writings for Cork University Press. Oscar’s Shadow: Wilde, Homosexuality and Ireland was published by Cork University Press in 2012 and A Different Story: the Writings of Colm Toibin was published by Irish Academic Press in 2013. Eibhear Walshe’s memoir, Cissie’s Abattoir, was published by Collins Press in 2009 and his first novel, The Diary of Mary Travers, appeared in 2015 and was nominated for the Dublin International IMPAC Award and the Kerry Group Book of the Year.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section TitlePagePrice
Introduction: Speranza and William Wilde13
I. 1840–1860: Words Become Their Weapons35
1. William Wilde, The Narrative of a Voyage to Madeira, Tenerife, and Along the Shores of the Mediterranean, 184037
2. Speranza, Poems47
“To Ireland”48
“France in ’93”51
“The Faithless Shepherds”53
“The Stricken Land” – January 184756
“The Brothers” – March 184758
3. William Wilde, Austria, Its Literary, Scientific and Medical Institutions, 184361
The Lunatic Asylum (Chapter X)62
4. Speranza, “Jacta Alea Est,” The Nation, July 194865
5. William Wilde, The Closing Years of the Life of Dean Swift, 184969
Swift and Stella70
6. Speranza, Sidonia the Sorceress, 184975
7. William Wilde, The Beauties of the Boyne and the Blackwater, 185081
The Battle-Field of Oldbridge – Duleek82
8. William Wilde, Irish Popular Superstitions, 1852101
The Decline of the Irish Superstition102
Revolution in Irish Life103
Medical Superstitions104
The May-Day Festival in Ireland105
The Oracle of Love106
II. 1860–1880: Merrion Square109
9. William Wilde, Ireland, Past and Present; The Land and the People, 1864111
10. Letters from Speranza115
11. William Wilde, Lough Corrib and its Shores, 1867119
12. Jane Wilde, William Carleton, 1869127
13. Jane Wilde (with Sir William Wilde), Memoir of Gabriel Beranger, 1880131
III 1880–1893: Speranza in London141
14. Jane Wilde, Driftwood from Scandinavia, 1884143
Stockholm to Berlin143
15. Jane Wilde, Ancient Legends, Mystic Charms, and Superstitions of Ireland, 1887171
The Horned Women172
The Stolen Bride174
The Priest’s Soul176
16. Jane Wilde, Ancient Cures, Charms and Usages of Ireland, 1890181
Ancient Cures, Charms, and Usages of Ireland181
Ancient Charms184
17. Jane Wilde, Notes on Men, Women, and Books, 1891185
Stella and Vanessa186
Thomas Moore207
George Eliot216
18. Jane Wilde, Social Studies, 1893225
American Women226
The Poet as Teacher241
Irish Leaders and Martyrs257
Bibliography of Speranza and William Wilde267