When Dorian sees the portrait that Basil Hallward paints of him, he wishes he could change places with his likeness, remain always young and beautiful, and allow the portrait to bear the effects of time—and, as it turns out, the effects of sin. As in the world of the fairy tale, the wish is granted, but at a terrible price. At the time he was writing The Picture of Dorian Gray, Wilde became friendly with Robert "Robbie" Ross, whom he had first met in at Oxford and who later served as Wilde's literary executor after faithfully standing by him through Wilde's trials and the horrors of Wilde's two years in prison.
Montgomery Hyde, in Oscar Wilde: A Biography, cited "strong grounds for believing that it was with [Ross] that Wilde first deliberately experimented in homosexual practices. I heard a clergyman extolling it, he only regretted some of the sentiments. A particularly scathing attack in The Scots Observer made a veiled reference to Wilde's homosexuality and suggested he take up tailoring or some other "decent" trade.
For the novel's hardcover edition, published the following year, Wilde made some changes, most important of which was the addition of six chapters and the famous epigrammatic preface. Perhaps surprisingly, the reviews this time were more favorable. Joyce Carol Oates in Critical Inquiry described the novel as a "parable of the fall" and identified Dorian's sin in his practice of involving others, "without any emotion,. His life becomes a series of one-night stands, each encounter briefer than the last. The painter Basil Hallward, for all his goodness, sublimates his true feelings in the beautiful portrait.
Lord Henry Wotton, for all his theories about the importance of indiscriminate experience, does not act. And Dorian Gray, whose actions with others lead him only to the point of prizing things such as tapestries, jewels, and vestments, unconvincingly tries to redeem himself with the village girl Hetty, but succeeds only in ending his life in a melodramatic fashion.
Though hastily written and clumsily constructed, it manages to haunt many readers with vivid memories of its visionary descriptions. From the reader's viewpoint, the picture suggests the treatment of angle and distance—the ways of telling and showing—which make up the perennial issues of the aesthetics and criticism of fiction. It is rather because of his dramas that Wilde's reputation has remained most secure. Louis Kronenberger, in The Thread of Laughter, mentioned Wilde together with the great eighteenth-century dramatist, Richard Brinsley Sheridan : "The brilliant stage comedy that glittered briefly in Sheridan and then remained dormant, if not dead, for over a hundred years is in some measure brought back to life with Oscar Wilde.
Britain's Lord Chamberlain, responsible for licensing stage performances, banned the play on the technical grounds that it portrayed biblical characters, which was forbidden since the days of the Protestant Reformation. The play no doubt offended on other grounds as well, such as those expressed by a critic in the London Times in "It is an arrangement in blood and ferocity, morbid, bizarre, repulsive, and very offensive in its adaptation of scriptural phraseology to situations the reverse of sacred.
This exotic one-act play has more the atmosphere of the earlier poem The Sphinx in its variations on the themes of obsession, lust, incest, and violence. Richard Ellmann, in Oscar Wilde: A Collection of Critical Essays, described this unity as "the extreme concentration upon a single episode which is like an image, with a synchronized moon changing color from pale to blood-red in keeping with the action, and an atmosphere of frenzy framed in exotic chill. This impression was undercut for critic Alan Bird, who, in The Plays of Oscar Wilde, contended that even in this play Wilde's wit shows through: "Yet the reader or audience can never escape the uncomfortable sensation that the author is actually parodying the action, the words, the characters, the whole ensemble of the drama.
This suspicion of parody, however faint, produces an intentional distancing, a deliberate alienation, which far from allowing us to dismiss the drama seems to increase the total effect of decadence. This play and his last, The Importance of Being Earnest, reveal Wilde at the height of his powers, dealing in a sure way with those things he knew and did best—portraying the upper crust of society, creating characters who could mouth his brilliant epigrams and paradoxes in amusing, if conventional, plots.
These plays use much of the typical material of the comedy of manners: mistaken identities, sexual indiscretions, cases of unknown parentage, and social snobbery. Lady Windermere's Fan, A Woman of No Importance, and An Ideal Husband also deal, in varying degrees of seriousness, with Wilde's favorite themes of the loss of innocence and the assertion of individuality.
Lady Windermere's Fan was originally produced by the actor-manager George Alexander before a thoroughly appreciative audience.
It ran for performances and solidified Wilde's position in the fashionable society he so much aspired to. He retained this exalted status for only three years before his trial for homosexuality made him a convict and a social outcast. But while his fame lasted Wilde enjoyed it with his usual flair. When the first-night audience at Lady Windermere's Fan called him to the stage after the final curtain, he smugly offered to those present: "The actors have given us a charming rendition of a delightful play, and your appreciation has been most intelligent.
I congratulate you on the great success of your performance, which persuades me that you think almost as highly of the play as I do myself.
Oscar Wilde (1854 - 1900)
Lady Windermere's Fan is a story about a woman with a past. Erlynne, the fallen woman who years ago left her husband and her daughter—now Lady Windermere—reappears and tries to regain a social position. Ironically it is the fallen woman who turns out to be the "good woman" of the subtitle "A Play about a Good Woman" , and the good woman of the first act, Lady Windermere, is forced to undergo a painful realization that things are not always what they appear to be. Arthur Ganz observed in British Victorian Literature that Lady Windermere "learns that a single act is not a final indicator of character and that a sinner may be a very noble person indeed.
Lines such as "Why, I have met hundreds of good women. I never seem to meet any but good women. The world is perfectly packed with good women. To know them is a middle class education" probably flattered the upper class audience and confirmed the suspicions of the middle class that this is the way dandies spoke in their drawing rooms and clubs.
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Robert Keith Miller complained that the play suffers from the juxtaposition of this verbal wit with the serious nature of the plot and maintained, "The union of Mrs. Erlynne with Lord Augustus, in the last fifty lines of the play, strikes one as a rather desperate attempt to relieve the tension of the last several acts in order to end on a light note.
Wilde had been introduced to "Bosie" Douglas, the son of the eighth Marquess of Queensberry, by the poet Lionel Johnson. A Woman of No Importance and An Ideal Husband followed quickly on the success of Lady Windermere's Fan and received similar acclaim from the audiences and similar disdain from the critics. In both of these plays, Miller noted, "we find Wilde condemning absolutes and pleading for tolerance in a world that is apt to be harsh. Agreeing with Speranza, Wilde's mother, that the plays needed "more plot," Alan Bird declared that in A Woman of No Importance "the plot is weak, and is, in fact, practically nonexistent.
The incident, such as it is, of a woman meeting a former lover and being involved in a tug-of-war over their child does not offer sufficient action or opportunity for development to fill four acts. Hyde reported that Allan Aynesworth, who played Algernon in the first performance, recalled many years later: "In my fifty-three years of acting I never remember a greater triumph than the first night of The Importance of Being Earnest. The audience rose in their seats and cheered and cheered again.
Superficially, at least, The Importance of Being Earnest contains many of the same elements as the earlier plays. Once again there are the question of parentage, a matter of mistaken identity, and a character who has been living a lie for years. But, as Louis Kronenberger observed, "the only difference is that here nothing can seem bogus because nothing pretends-to-be-real; nothing can offend our feelings because nothing can affect them.
Each of the men leads a double life: Jack, who lives in the country with his ward Cecily, has invented an alter ego named Ernest for his life in town; Algernon has done similarly with his imaginary invalid friend Bunbury, who lives in the country. When the audience shortly learns that each of the young women absurdly wishes to marry a man named Ernest, the stage is set for farcical twists and turns. Over almost all the action presides Lady Bracknell, a woman with wit to spare and a discerning judgment regarding the credentials requisite for the proper marriage.
When Jack and Algernon turn out to be brothers in the same respectable family as Lady Bracknell, the play can end happily and absurdly with the two marriages. In Papers on Language and Literature, Dennis Spininger concurred, explaining that Wilde "uses the tools of the satirist without wanting to cure the follies and ills he criticizes. Perhaps Freedman was correct when in The Moral Impulse he described the play as "an account of the search of several young persons for meaning in a society extraordinarily reluctant, even impotent, to assign importance to anything except the superficial.
If an element of seriousness can be identified in this play, it may be what Eric Bentley in The Playwright as Thinker called "a pseudo-irresponsible jabbing at all the great problems. The Importance of Being Earnest subsequently ran for a month with the author's name removed from the playbills and the program; An Ideal Husband was cancelled almost immediately.
Wilde () - IMDb
During his imprisonment Wilde continued to write as an essayist. He had been writing critical essays since , when he arrived in London from Oxford and began to write on art for various London periodicals. In he lectured in America, and these lectures were published after his death by his bibliographer Stuart Mason. Wilde clearly had Arnold in mind in "The Critic as Artist," when he turned upside down his predecessor's famous dictum that the function of criticism is to see the object as it really is: Wilde would have it that "the aim of the critic is to see the object as in itself it really is not.
The higher the imagination soars, both from the work of art and from reality, the better the criticism. Just as the critic in this sense can be superior to the artist, so the artist is superior to the man of action. The man of action is the least imaginative because action is "a base concession to fact. In "The Decay of Lying" he argues that lying is a requisite of art, for without it there is nothing but a base realism. The problem with the novel in England, Wilde claims, is that writers do not lie enough; they do not have enough imagination in their works: "they find life crude, and leave it raw.
The Soul of Man under Socialism, though not collected in Intentions, was published in the same year, Wilde's society friends must have been amused at his advocacy of socialism, but the conclusions of this essay are consistent with those of the other essays—if we accept his premises about socialism. Wilde advocates a nonauthoritarian socialism under which the individual would be freed from either the burden of poverty or the burdens of greed and guilt.
As Michael Helfand and Philip Smith stated in Texas Studies in Literature and Language, "Wilde formulated a nonauthoritarian socialist theory which encouraged aesthetic activity, analogous to sexual selection, and reduced competition and thus natural selection , as the way of achieving continuous cultural and social improvement.
Wilde's last important essay was written during his imprisonment. Events leading up to Wilde's incarceration began when Lord Alfred Douglas's father, the Marquess of Queensberry, tried unsuccessfully to end the relationship between his son and Wilde. Frustrated by his lack of success, he went to Wilde's club and left his card, which was inscribed "To Oscar Wilde posing as a somdomite [ sic ]. Wilde lost the case, and as a result of the testimony against him at the trial, he was arrested and tried for homosexuality.
Since the jury could not agree on a verdict, Wilde was tried a second time and ultimately convicted. The record of these trials, which was published by H. Montgomery Hyde in as Trials of Oscar Wilde, makes fascinating reading, revealing as it does the vanity of Wilde, the eccentricities of Queensbury, and exultation of the British public at the verdict. Wilde was sentenced in May, , to two years of hard labor, most of which was spent at Reading Gaol. A heavily edited version of this letter was published in ; the entire work did not appear until Rupert Hart-Davis's complete edition of Wilde's letters was published in As a work of art, De Profundis suffers from a divided purpose caused in part by the fact that there is more than one audience.
From the beginning Wilde intended the letter to be read by more people than Douglas alone. At the end of the work he expressed its weaknesses as well as anyone later appraising De Profundis has: "How far I am away from the true temper of soul, this letter in its changing, uncertain moods, its scorn and bitterness, its aspirations and its failures to realize those aspirations shows you quite clearly. Then Wilde reverses his position and accepts any blame for the outcome of events.
But the vehemence of the early denunciation renders hollow a finely cried statement like the following: "To regret one's own experience is to arrest one's own development. To deny one's own experiences is to put a lie into the lips of one's own life. It is no less than a denial of the soul. And Wilde reasserts the most important critical principles of the earlier essays: the importance of individualism, imagination, self-expression, and self-development.
In De Profundis, Christ becomes the archetype of the artist, "the most supreme of individualists. Hyde recorded in The Annotated Oscar Wilde that Yeats called it "a great or almost great poem," but the fact that he chose only thirty-eight of the poem's stanzas for publication in the Oxford Book of Modern Verse suggests his awareness of the work's diffuseness. The poem appeared in without Wilde's name but with the identification "C.
The ballad tells a very moving story of a man condemned to death for the murder of his young wife and records the horror of his fellow prisoners as they watch him go through his last days. She lost to the Republican Denver Riggleman. Wilde derived her stage name from Irish author Oscar Wilde. She changed her surname while in high school, to honor the writers in her family, many of whom used pen names.
She considered herself a pescetarian in ,  although she has also claimed to be both vegan and vegetarian at different times in her life. Wilde holds dual citizenship with Ireland and the United States. On June 7, , when she was 19 years old, Wilde married Prince Tao Ruspoli , an Italian filmmaker and musician, and member of the aristocratic Ruspoli family that owns a famed palazzo in Italy.
She later said the marriage occurred in an abandoned school bus because it was the only place where they could be completely alone, as the marriage was a secret at the time. Wilde did not seek spousal support, and the pair reached a private agreement on property division. Wilde began dating actor, comedian, and screenwriter Jason Sudeikis in November From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. American actress. Wilde at the South by Southwest.
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- Wilde Bar & Restaurant.
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