(Another non-early modern post, but seriously, can you blame me? He’s brilliant!)

Today in 1900, Oscar Wilde passed away. Celebrate with a Green Carnation in your lapel.

The Green Carnation


“A really perfect buttonhole flower is the only thing to unite art with nature.”

In cultures and periods where homosexuality has been outlawed, covert signifiers have been developed to communicate one’s sexual preferences.  Wilde’s habit of wearing a green carnation in his lapel became a signifier for homosexuality in the late 1890s, early 1900s.  The green carnation was a mixture of the colour green, which had been associated in classical Rome with homosexual acts and pederasty, and the carnation, which had been associated with Oxford’s student life.


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