Tonight’s musical selection is a new music video from Nightmares On Wax for “Be, I Do” from the album Feelin’ Good.

Portrait of Oscar Wilde

Did Oscar Wilde have a tryst with Walt Whitman?

Mallory Ortberg at The Toast claims that, according to Neil McKenna’s The Secret Life of Oscar Wilde, Wilde & Walt Whitman probably had sex.

You are either the kind of person to whom this matters a great deal, or the kind of person to whom it matters not at all. To the latter I say: yours is the narrow road and the straight, and I extend to you a hearty and fulsome handshake, as well as my sincerest wishes for your continued good health. To the former I say: Want to hear about the time Walt Whitman and Oscar Wilde (probably) hooked up??

‘Stoddart tactfully left the two poets alone. “If you are willing – will excuse me – I will go off for an hour or so – come back again – leaving you together,” he said. “We would be glad to have you stay,” Whitman replied. “But do not feel to come back in an hour. Don’t come for two or three.” Whitman opened a bottle of elderberry wine and he and Oscar drank it all before Whitman suggested they go upstairs to his “den” on the third floor where, he told Oscar, “We could be on ‘thee and thou’ terms.”

… The next day, Whitman told the Philadelphia Press that the two of them had a “jolly good time” together. Did he get more specific? He did, reader. He did:

‘One of the first things I said was that I should call him “Oscar.” “I like that so much,” he answered, laying his hand on my knee. He seemed to me like a great big, splendid boy. He is so frank, and outspoken, and manly. I don’t see why such mocking things are written of him.

The original article has more delightfully sordid details. Maybe it’s all a bit of wishful thinking (I’m not a historian and don’t know the bonafides of the original source) but it entertained me this evening. Thanks Megan E. Allen at @DownstairsSexEd for bringing this bit of very old gossip to my attention.

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Image by Thierry Ehrmann released under a Creative Commons license.