Social Victorians/1889-08-30 Lippincott Dinner at the Langham

Lippincott's Monthly Author Dinner at the Langham HotelEdit


  • 1889 August 30
  • Langham Hotel, Portland Place
  • Hosted by James M. Stoddart, managing editor of Lippincott's Monthly Magazine

Related EventsEdit

  • Stoddart met with other writers as well on his visit to London (Lawrence 249).

Who Was PresentEdit

  1. Joseph Marshall Stoddart
  2. Thomas Patrick Gill, P.M. from Ireland
  3. Oscar Wilde
  4. Arthur Conan Doyle

People Not Present But RelevantEdit

  1. James Payn, recommended Conan Doyle and Wilde to Stoddart
  2. George Lock (Ward, Lock was the publisher for the British version of Lippincott's)



<quote>The American house of Lippincott's, based in Philadelphia, had sent one of their men, J.M. Stoddart, over to England to search out some new talent. Lippincott's published a monthly magazine in both countries, and their policy was to include a complete story in each number. Stoddart called upon James Payn, editor of The Cornhill, and Payn recommended him to try Dr. Conan Doyle of Southsea. The result was the celebrated dinner for four at the Langham Hotel, Portland Place with Stoddart, Doyle, Oscar Wilde, and an Irish MP called Gill. ... Dr Doyle has left on record his impressions of Wilde</quote> (Stavert 148)

Conan Doyle Describes Oscar WildeEdit

<quote>It was indeed a golden evening for me ... [sic] His conversation left an indelible impression upon my mind. He towered above us all, and yet had the art of seeming to be interested in all that we could say. He had delicacy of feeling and tact, for the monologue man, however clever, can never be a gentleman at heart. He had a curious precision of statement, a delicate flavour of humour, and a trick of small gestures to illustrate his meaning, which were peculiar to himself.</quote> (Miller 119)

Other Relevant InformationEdit

For Lippincott's Doyle wrote "The Sign of Four" (instead of what Stavert says?, which is that Doyle wrote "A Study in Scarlet"), which has "a character patterned after Oscar Wilde, and the Langdon Hotel gets a mention" (Stavert 149). Stoddart was looking for novellas. Doyle's "The Sign of Four" was published in the February 1890 number, and Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray in the July 1890 one.

Wilde and Stoddart knew each other in 1882: Stoddart and Wilde called on Walt Whitman when Wilde met him on his 1882 lecture tour of the U.S. (Ellmann ).

Lindsy Lawrence says that Wilde pitched the story line for The Picture of Dorian Gray at the dinner (249, n. 14).

Questions and NotesEdit


  • Coren 1995, 56
  • Ellmann, Richard. Oscar Wilde.
  • Green. 1990
  • Lawrence, Lindsy M. Seriality and Domesticity: The Victorian Serial and Domestic Ideology in the. UMI Microform, 2008.
  • McDonald, Peter D. British Literary Culture and Publishing Practice, 1880–1914. Cambridge Studies in Publishing and Printing * History. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1997.
  • Miller, Russell. The Adventures of Arthur Conan Doyle: A Biography. New York: St. Martin's, 2008.
  • Stavert.
  • Oscar Wilde, Selected Letters. Ed., Hart-Davis, R. Oxford University Press, 1979: 95.