Wednesday, March 29, 2023

The sad end of one of history’s famous writers, Oscar Wilde

On the day Oscar Wilde was released from prison 125 years ago, there was no crowd waiting for him. Despite the fact that until just two years ago he was the most famous person in the British capital of London.

Not only was he a noted poet, playwright and novelist, but in the spring of 1895 he starred in a three-act spectacle that attracted much of Britain and the literary world.

scene was The Old Bailey, the central court in England and Wales, where he appeared first as accuser and then twice as accuseduntil he was sentenced to two years of forced labor for being gay.

This was the maximum sentence for the offense of “gross indecency”, but for the judge, the sentence was “totally unreasonable” given the gravity of his “offence”.

The crime was, of course, he was to be convicted, as the UK government confirmed 120 years later, when it posthumously pardoned him with the 2017 ‘Turing Law’ (named after British WWII codebreaker Alan Turing), which More than that were acquitted. 50,000 men were convicted of homosexuality.

Obviously it’s too late. The damage to Wilde’s reputation was irreparable, at least in his lifetime.

but the man who wrote the philosophical novel “The Picture of Dorian Grey”, as well as entertaining and funny plays such as “Lady Windermere’s Fan” (1892), “A Woman of No Importance” (1893) and “The Importance of Being Ernest (1895)”, He was not easily forgotten.

Crowds of fans haven’t stopped celebrating, and clever phrases like “We’re all in the gutter, but some of us see the stars”, “The only way to get rid of temptation is to fall into it” or “Always beat your enemies.” Sorry, nothing else bothers you” is now airing on the network.

However, there are some things that are sometimes forgotten, like…

he wasn’t the only famous wilde

Oscar Fingle O’Flaherty Wills Wilde was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1854.

his father, Sir William Wilde, a respected otolaryngologist who revolutionized the treatment of ear infections (And he also had a reputation as a ladies man; before marriage he was the father of three children from two different women).

Oscar’s mother was Jane Elgie, an Anglo-Irish revolutionary poet who wrote under the pseudonym Speranza.

Growing up, Wilde was influenced by both his mother’s Irish nationalist politics and his father’s philanthropic tendencies.

At Trinity College in Dublin he was introduced to Greek literature which would greatly influence his later works and beliefs.

He believed in ‘art for the sake of art’

While at Trinity, and later at Oxford University’s Magdalen College (in which he attended from 1874 to 1878), Wilde was known for his advocacy of aestheticism, an intellectual movement centered on the idea that art in addition to beauty Should not be present for any other reason. ,

illustration on the work of an 18th century philosopher Immanuel Kant, aesthetes opposed the Victorian idea that art could be a tool of social learning and moral knowledge.

To him, whatever morality or utility a work might bring was irrelevant.

During his time at Oxford, Wilde made his “beauty style” his own: growing his hair long, dressing in extravagant fashion, and assuming exaggerated effects.

She once declared, “I wish I could live up to my blue china!”

Wilde became a symbol of the Beautician movement and his only novel, “The Picture of Dorian Grey” is considered a great example of the interplay between aesthetic theory and art and ethics.

Fell in love with Bram Stoker’s wife

Wilde had several notable relationships with women.

During his youth in Dublin, Wilde had fallen in love with the beautiful and funny Florence Balcombe.

In “Wild’s Women”, Eleanor Fitzsimmons recounts that Wilde wrote about her to a friend: “I’m going to pick up a pretty girl at the cathedral at dusk. She’s 17, the most beautiful face I’ve ever seen.” .. and not even a dime. Next time I see you, I’ll show you his picture.”

Despite Wilde’s dismay and their courtship, Balcombe decided to marry Irish writer Bram Stoker, who would later gain fame as the creator of “Dracula”.

Fitzsimons noted that although Wilde was heartbroken, he proposed to two other women before meeting Constance Lloyd, the woman who would become his wife.

Wilde met Lloyd, the daughter of an Irish barrister, in 1881. They married in 1884 and had two sons, Cyril and Vyan. Many of his letters display deep affection: “As long as I live, you will be my lover,” wrote Lloyd in 1883 in response to Wilde’s proposal.

At the birth of the couple’s second child in 1886, Wilde met Robbie Ross, a 17-year-old Canadian journalist and art critic who was openly gay. Shortly after, Ross moved into the Wilde family home and according to multiple sources, they had a relationship.

Since then, Wilde has become more open about his taste in men.

he inadvertently made his decision

In 1891, Wilde began a stormy relationship with Lord Alfred ‘Bossy’ Douglas, a 21-year-old Oxford student who was a beautiful and poetic figure.

Douglas was Wilde’s beloved collection, but also a cumbersome burden that was often careless with Wilde’s love and money.

The couple often argued and reconciled.

In a letter in mid-1894, Wilde wrote to Bossy: “I can’t live without you. You’re so sweet, so wonderful. I think of you all day and remember your grace, your youthful beauty, the gleaming swordsmanship of your intellect, the delicate imagination of your genius.”

Suspecting a relationship between his son and the playwright, Bossy’s father, John Douglas, the Marquess of Queensberry, begins to harass Wilde in an attempt to break the relationship.

In February 1895, Queensberry left a visiting card with the Albemarle Club in London, of which Wilde was a member.

The message on the card read: “Presenting Oscar Wilde as a Somdomite [sic]”, although there is still debate about the words and their meaning because of Queensberry’s lyrics.

Seeing this as a public charge, and against the advice of several of his friends, Wilde sued Queensberry for criminal defamation.

Known for her belligerent attitude, Queensberry gathered abundant evidence that Wilde had solicited male prostitutes and forced witnesses to testify against the author.

Despite displaying his distinctive intelligence during the trial, Wilde was unable to refute Queensberry’s allegations.

In a humiliating blow, Marquess was acquitted and immediately framed to bring charges of “gross indecency” and sodomy against Wilde, charges that criminalized homosexuals.

they commended him in court

April 6, 1895 AD. Wilde was arrested and charged, and two highly public and damaging trials followed, in which Wilde pleaded not guilty.

In a memorable moment in the first trial, Wilde was brutally questioned about the meaning of a phrase in a poem dedicated to Bossy that the prosecution thought was a euphemism for homosexuality: “The love that dares not Let’s say your name.”

“In this century, it is akin to an adult’s intense affection for a young man, as between David and Jonathan, as Plato formed the basis of his philosophy, and as you in Michelangelo and Shakespeare’s sonnets find.

“It is that deep and spiritual affection that is as pure as it is perfect. It directs and pervades great works of art, such as Shakespeare or Michelangelo, and those two letters of mine.

“In this century it’s misunderstood, so misunderstood that it should be described as ‘the love that can’t tell its name,’ and that’s why I’m here right now. It’s beautiful, it’s fabulous, it’s caring.” is the best form.

“There is nothing unnatural in it. It is intellectual, and it is present again and again between an adult and a young person, when the adult has the intelligence and all the joy and hope and glamor before the young person. That is what the world does not understand. The world makes fun of him and sometimes throws someone into pillars.”

Wilde received accolades in court for his response.

He wrote one of his most famous works in his cell

At the time, the British prison system was designed to subject prisoners to hard physical labor and silent attention to their crimes.

Wilde’s life in prison was difficult and bleak: he spent 23 hours a day in his cell, had little contact with other inmates, and had to work out on a treadmill.

Although he was prohibited from writing plays, prose or poetry while serving his sentence, he was allowed to write letters.

They found that the prison rules did not specify how long a letter should be and if a letter was not expired, the prisoner could be allowed to take it with him when he left the prison.

Therefore, during the final three months of his sentence, Wilde worked on the paper that later became known as “de profundis” (Latin for “in the depths”), which was published after his death.

he died destitute in paris

After his release, Wilde was irreparably affected by his imprisonment; His health was weak and he went bankrupt.

He left the UK and assumed the name Sebastian Melmoth, inspired by the 19th-century Gothic novel “Melmoth the Wanderer” by Irish author Charles Maturin.

Although Oscar’s wife, Constance, continued to support him with financial stipends for some time after his release, she lived in England with their two children and changed her surname to ‘Holland’ to avoid scandal.

With the exception of “Ballad of Reading Gaul” (1898), a scathing indictment of the Victorian penal system first published under Wilde’s prisoner identification number, C3-3, he wrote a few more during this time.

To a friend he said, “I can write, but I have lost the joy of writing.”

health of Wilde continued to deteriorate and faced public abuse and humiliation, often ridiculed and ridiculed by those who knew her.

He died on November 30, 1900, at the age of 46, at the dilapidated Htel d’Alsace in Paris, in the company of some friends and a Catholic priest, after suffering from meningitis.

*This article is adapted from “7 Things You Didn’t Know About Oscar Wilde” by BBC History Extra magazine online editor Elinor Evans.

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bbc-news-src:, date of import: 2022-06-19 09:40:05

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