Thursday, April 26, 2012

W = Wilde Thing - A to Z Challenge

Wilde, Oscar
A man before his time. . .


Oscar Wilde, by Napoleon Sarony (Wikipedia, PD-Art)


Wilde, Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills (16 October 1854 – 30 November 1900) was an Irish writer and poet. After writing in different forms throughout the 1880s, he became one of London's most popular playwrights in the early 1890s. Today, he is remembered for his epigrams, plays and the circumstances of his imprisonment, followed by his early death.  His story is a good illustration of the society kiss of death.  One minute you're the darling, step out of line, and you're old news.



After university, Wilde moved to London into fashionable cultural and social circles.  He published a book of poems, lectured in the United States and Canada and then returned to London where he worked as a journalist.  Wilde became one of the most well-known personalities of his day. 



In mid-1887, Wilde was the editor of The Lady's World magazine, his name prominently appearing on the cover. He renamed it The Woman's World and raised its tone, adding serious articles on parenting, culture, and politics, keeping discussions of fashion and arts. Two pieces of fiction were usually included, one to be read to children, the other for the ladies themselves.


At the turn of the 1890s, he wrote of decadence, duplicity, and beauty in his only novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890). He wrote Salome (1891) in French in Paris but, it was refused a licence.  Wilde instead then produced four society comedies in the early 1890s, which made him one of the most successful playwrights of late Victorian London.



At the height of his fame and success, Wilde became embroiled in a social scandal related to his sexual preferences and ended up serving time in prison at hard labour.  Upon his release he left Ireland, never to return there or to Britain again. He lived the rest of his life in France, and there he wrote his last work, The Ballad of Reading Gaol, a long poem commemorating the harsh rhythms of prison life.



Oscar Wilde's Monument, before the cleaning, by DG Hudson


Oscar's health declined sharply until he collapsed during chapel from illness and hunger.  His right ear drum was ruptured in the fall, an injury that would contribute to his death. He spent two months in the infirmary.


Wilde's final address was at the dingy Hôtel d'Alsace (L'Hôtel) in Paris.  He died of cerebral meningitis on 30 November 1900, destitute in Paris at the age of forty-six.  Wilde's physicians, Dr. Paul Cleiss and A'Court Tucker, reported that the condition stemmed from an old suppuration of the right ear.



Oscar Wilde's Monument Side and front, before cleanup, by DG Hudson


In 1909, his remains were disinterred to Père Lachaise Cemetery inside the city.  His tomb was designed by Sir Jacob Epstein.  Until recently, Oscar's monument was covered with kisses, comments, signatures, and more as high as humans hands could reach.  The tomb was cleaned and partially covered by protective clear material.  See the video below for the details.

'No More Wilde Kisses' Huffington Post Article

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Do you like Oscar Wilde's writing? His witty quotes?  Please share any comments about his works that you've read.  Have you read or seen Dorian Gray?

DG's Theme:  Paris, Etc. (Art, Film, Places, and People
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References:
Pere Lachaise Cemetery, Oscar Wilde's Monument
http://dghudson.blogspot.ca/2012/01/paris-pere-lachaise-cemetery.html

http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/oscar-wilde  Bio - Oscar Wilde

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oscar_Wilde  Oscar Wilde, general info

http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/historic_figures/wilde_oscar.shtml Historic figures

14 comments:

  1. Oscar Wilde was one of my heroes when I was young and the Ballad of Reading Gaol remains one of my favorite poems. Aubrey's illustrations for Salome is another favorite. I loved this post as I will always like and respect Oscar Wilde.

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    1. I'm glad you mentioned Aubrey Beardsley, Inger. At college, he was one of my faves. A fellow art student introduced me to his work.

      I'm glad you liked the post, it shows how easily a life can go awry.

      And I got the other message!

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  2. He had a rough life after it all went downhill.

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    1. When I learn some of the details of a writer's life, I find I read his works differently.

      I'm glad I took those photos of the tomb before it was cleaned. It was amazing to see how much fans adore this man whom society rejected.

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  3. I remember the first time I saw The Picture of Dorian Gray as a kid. It was creepy and I loved it! I love Oscar Wilde's quotes too! My favorite play of his is The Importance of Being Earnest.

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    1. Yes, I liked the concept of being trapped by art, but the scary part was the pay-up at the end . . .

      Thanks for stopping by! I didn't add the quotes, since they're well known, but I have a few faves.

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  4. An Ideal Husband and The Picture of Dorian Gray are two of my favs of his. It sad how things ended for him.

    My fav quote of his was: "The world was my oyster but I used the wrong fork."

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    1. I agree Mina, and I don't think I've heard that quote.

      When you're in the public eye, you are judged on every aspect of your life. It's a point to remember.

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  5. I hope I don't go that way. His last years sound horrid.

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    1. No, I'd prefer to avoid that too.

      Oscar's demise was a sad story, but he still managed to make an impact on literature.

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  6. Interesting post and love your blog. Found you through a - z and am now following.

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  7. I am totally unfamiliar with his work, although I've long known the name. I need to remedy that. Thanks for this post!

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  8. Hi DG .. fascinating about Oscar Wilde - I'd no idea he was editor of The Lady ..

    Again I'll be re-reading .. cheers Hilary

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  9. I loved the Importance of Being Earnest. have not read Dorian Gray or seen the movie, but now will have to.

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