On 11 May 1882, Wilde was in New York near the end of the first stage of his extensive lecture tour. As he wrote to Norman Forbes-Robertson, "My second lecture at New York was a brilliant success. I lectured at Wallack's Theatre in the afternoon, not an empty seat, and I have greatly improved in speaking and in gesture" (Complete Letters, p.168). The subject of the lecture was "Aestheticism and house decoration".
The identity of "Joe Mack" is a matter for speculation. No person by that name has been identified as an acquaintance of Wilde's. He may have been a member of the audience at the lecture who was otherwise unknown to Wilde. If that is the case, it is perhaps odd that Wilde should address him as "his friend". It could be that Joe Mack is a nickname given by Wilde to one of his friends or associates in the United States. In any case, this copy links Wilde, a Briton taking America by storm, with Mark Twain, the archetypal American whose "British novel" this is.
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