Oscar Wilde

Oscar Wilde

Book - 1987
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The biography sensitive to the tragic pattern of the story of a great subject: Oscar Wilde - psychologically and sexually complicated, enormously quotable, central to a alluring cultural world and someone whose life assumed an unbearably dramatic shape.
Publisher: New York : Alfred A. Knopf, c1987.
ISBN: 9780394554846
Characteristics: 680 pages


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May 04, 2015

"It is difficult for me to laugh at life, as I used to."-O.W.
Even if you know nothing about (or don't care about) literature, you know who Oscar Wilde is. He has been called the first celebrity author, the first dandy, and the first public homosexual. Even if those aren't true, they feel true. Wilde lived life as if it were art and in doing so created an indelible, influential persona that not only inspired authors, but also musicians (Morrissey) and filmmakers (Todd Haynes). Celebrated as much for his wit and style as for his writing, Wilde enjoyed great success and crushing defeat: excoriated for his homosexuality, dying poor and in exile in 1900 at the age of 46. Richard Ellmann's heavy, magisterial biography gives you one of the most fascinating lives of any author, from his relatively happy Irish childhood, to his cultivation of the aesthetic/dandy-ish life, to his stage triumphs, to his disastrous involvement with Alfred Douglas, whose father was instrumental in ruining Wilde's reputation. Ellmann, who also wrote the definitive Joyce bio, completed this shortly before he died and it's a monument both to him and to Wilde. "I have put only my talent into my works. I have put all my genius into my life."

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