Oscar Wilde’s misattributions: a legacy of gross indecency

Katerina García-Walsh*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Drawing on correspondence and periodical advertising as well as paratextual and bibliographic detail, this paper compares editions of the three most prominent texts falsely associated with Oscar Wilde: The Green Carnation (1894), an intimate satire on Wilde’s relationship with Lord Alfred Douglas actually written by Douglas’ friend Robert Smythe Hichens; “The Priest and the Acolyte” (1894), a paedophilic story written by John Francis Bloxam and presented as evidence against Wilde during his libel trial and then privately reprinted; and the erotic novel Teleny (1893), which is still attributed to Wilde today. His name appeared in tandem with these novels over the course of a century, linking him further with sex and scandal. Two separate editions of Teleny in 1984 and 1986 feature introductions by Winston Leyland and John McRae, respectively justifying Wilde’s authorship and describing the work as likely a round-robin pornographic collaboration between Wilde and his young friends. By recognising and exposing these cases of literary impersonation, we can amend Wilde’s legacy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)189-208
Number of pages21
JournalVictorian Popular Fictions
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 17 Dec 2021


  • Oscar Wilde
  • The Green Carnation
  • The Priest and the Acolyte
  • Teleny
  • Misattribution
  • Victorian literature


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