logo
Wrong email address or username
Wrong email address or username
Incorrect verification code
back to top
Search tags: wilde-like-me
Load new posts () and activity
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2018-10-27 00:10
The Complete Letters of Oscar Wilde
The Complete Letters of Oscar Wilde - Oscar Wilde,Rupert Hart-Davis,Merlin Holland

Before I go into why I loved this book, I should make clear that I have not read the entire correspondence that is contained in this book - this is a 1230-page volume!

I have mostly browsed correspondence and opened the book at random to read whatever letter such method revealed to me. However, there were letters that were of particular interest to me and that caused me to pick up the book in the first place, such as Wilde's correspondence to Lord Queensberry and the letters relating to his trial and imprisonment.

 

What I have found with this wonderful book is that:

 

- Wilde was a humorous and warm correspondent. There are several letters in this collection that were to unidentified correspondents who seemed to be members of the reading or theatre-going public, who just decided to write to him. Wilde evidently did not know these people, and yet, he still answered the letters in manner that felt engaged with whatever it was that the senders had asked him. 

 

- Wilde had a LOT of social engagements and used them negotiate advances on plays and writings. At least, much of the correspondence seems about that - not just for himself but also for other writers, actors, and producers.

 

- The letters to Bosie's mother show a genuine, deep concern of Wilde's over Alfred's well-being. The both may have been toxic for each other (Wilde and Bosie, I mean), but from the letters to Bosie's mother, it appears Wilde did seek help when he feared Bosie to be in danger of harming himself. (The book doesn't contain the answers to his letters, so I do not know whether Bosie's mother acknowledged Wilde's concerns.)

 

- Letter to Bosie that Wilde wrote from Reading Gaol which is commonly published as De Profundis is contained in this volume also, and it was extraordinary to see the letter in the context of the other correspondence of the same time, in which Wilde mostly tried to settle his affairs, asking for debts to be paid following the trial. For whatever image we may have of Wilde as the flamboyant bon vivant, he was serious about settling debts and not owing people dues. 

Of course, Wilde's imprisonment didn't just deprive him of his freedom, he also lost most of his contacts and some of his business partners took advantage of Wilde not being able to pursue them for fraud or theft or not-paying his royalties. He was thoroughly stripped of his civil liberties and his rights. 

 

And this is where the book was really hard to read. It really shows the change from Wilde being a student, to becoming famous, to falling from grace, to being utterly dependent on the few friends that stayed loyal to him. At the end, there were only two of them. Two.

 

Here are some of the more harrowing passages from the letters to Reginald Turner about Wilde's prison stay:

"17 May 1897 

 

[...] I cannot tell you how good and dear it was of you in my eyes. Other people came forward with promises of large sums of money [...] every one of them has backed out.

   You, dear Reggie, simply and quietly and thoughtfully go and get me a beautiful and

useful thing. You make no noise beforehand: you blow no lying trumpets like Frank Harris: you don't pose as the generous friend: you simply do a sweet kind action, unostentatiously, and you are the only one who has really helped me on my going out. I can't tell you how touched I am: I shall never forget.

 The person who has sent me money to pay for my food and expenses on going out is my dear sweet wife, and you have bought me my travelling bag: and now I want yourself; I want you, if you can, to be ready to meet me when I go out, at Mortimer, a place six miles from here. 

I am ill, and unnerved. Already the American interviewer and the English journalist have arrived in Reading: the Governor of the Prison has just shown me a letter from an American interviewer stating that he will be here with a carriage on Wednesday morning for me, and offering any sum I like if I will breakfast with him! Is it not appalling?

I who am maimed, ill, altered in appearance so that no one can hardly recognise me, broken-hearted, ruined, disgraced - a leper, and a pariah to men - I am to be gibbeted for the pleasure of the public of two worlds!"

Wilde also brought home some of the less apparent issues of the criminal justice system of his day:

"27 May 1897 [to the editor of the Daily Chronicle]

 

Sir, I learn with great regret, through the columns of your paper, that the warder Martin, of Reading Prison, has been dismissed by the Prison Commissioners for having given some sweet biscuits to a little hungry child. 

 

I saw the three children myself on the Monday preceding my release. They had just been convicted, and were standing in a row in the central hall in their prison dress, carrying their sheets under their arms previous to their being sent to the cells allotted to them. I happened to be passing along one of the galleries on my way to the reception room, where I was to have an interview with a friend. They were quite small children, the youngest - the one to whom the warder gave the biscuits - being a tiny little chap, for whom they had evidently been unable to find clothes small enough to fit. I had, of course, seen many children in prison during the two years during which I was myself confined. Wandsworth Prison especially contained always a large number of children. But the little child I saw on the afternoon of Monday the 17th, at Reading, was tinier than any of them. I need not say how utterly distressed I was to see these children at Reading, for I knew the treatment in store for them. The cruelty that is practised by day and night on children in English prisons is incredible, except to those that have witnessed it and are aware of the brutality of the system."

Wilde does not provide any graphic details of the cruelty he experienced, but the change in his outlook on life is very visible. He was a broken man on his release.

 

The last letter in the collection is a letter to Frank Harris in which Wilde begs him to send the money that Harris owes Wilde so he can settle his doctor's bill, and the Epilogue included in this - I have to say it again - magnificent compilation includes the letters between Wilde's last two friends - Reginald Turner and Robert Ross - who both cared for Wilde in his last days as he was dying from meningitis. 

 

Simply heart-breaking stuff.

 

Lastly, I would like make another note about what drew me to this book in the first place - the book was a collaboration between Rupert Hart-Davis and Merlin Holland. 

 

Hart-Davis had previously compiled the first ever major collection of Wilde's letters in 1962, and continued to collect material and letters which he then published in 1985. It is the collaboration with Merlin Holland that, I suspect, adds another level of depth to this particular edition - together with a further 300 letters which Holland was able to add  from Wilde's family estate. For those not in the know, Merlin Holland is Wilde's grand-son. 

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
text 2018-10-20 00:57
Wilde in Love by Eloisa James 1.99!
Wilde in Love: The Wildes of Lindow Castle - Eloisa James

Lord Alaric Wilde, son of the Duke of Lindow, is the most celebrated man in England, revered for his dangerous adventures and rakish good looks. Arriving home from years abroad, he has no idea of his own celebrity until his boat is met by mobs of screaming ladies. Alaric escapes to his father’s castle, but just as he grasps that he’s not only famous but notorious, he encounters the very private, very witty, Miss Willa Ffynche.

 

Willa presents the façade of a serene young lady to the world. Her love of books and bawdy jokes is purely for the delight of her intimate friends. She wants nothing to do with a man whose private life is splashed over every newspaper.

 

Alaric has never met a woman he wanted for his own . . . until he meets Willa. He’s never lost a battle.

 

But a spirited woman like Willa isn’t going to make it easy. . . .

 

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2018-10-10 13:15
The Christmas Cookie Chronicles - Carrie
The Christmas Cookie Chronicles: Carrie: A Twilight, Texas Story - Lori Wilde

I looked at the cover photo, read the little blurb, saw it was short and borrowed it. It was okay, but it became like romance novels when it threw in the steamy sex scene. 

 

Carrie lives in Twilight, TX running the yarn shop her sister opened, dreading the coming Christmas season, her mother died on Christmas Eve when a rumor has started that her former high school sweetheart and ex-husband is coming to town to tape about the local legend. The legend states that if you throw a penny into the fountain you and your high school sweetheart will marry and be together forever. It doesn't matter how long it takes, but that it happens. 

 

Just to be clear, I do not like romances. If a book catches my attention, even if it is a romance, I will read it, but I can live without the sex scenes and fantasy love. 

 

 

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
text 2018-10-03 13:39
Halloween Bingo 2018 - Ghost Stories
The Complete Works of Oscar Wilde - Oscar Wilde,Vyvyan Holland

No I didn't read the complete works of Oscar Wilde last night. Just The Canterville Ghost.

 

I think this was probably one of the first Oscar Wilde stories I ever read (along with The Happy Prince and Other Tales). And I enjoy it every time I re-read it.

 

I love the Otis family who are completely OK with buying a country house with a resident ghost, and who instead of being terrified by his clanking chains, offer him some lubricator to oil them. Because they're American and pragmatic and don't hold with that kind of nonsense.

 

Which is a shame, because Sir Simon (the ghost) takes his ghostly duties very seriously indeed and has a whole repertoire of scary characters which have worked very well for him in the past. Unfortunately he is no match for the Otis's twin boys who spend their time thinking up ways to trick him, including a 'ghost' made out of a bedsheet which scares the crap out of him. I reckon Kevin in Home Alone probably got most of his ideas from the Otis boys.

 

 

Funny, sad, and ultimately a happy ending. What more can you ask for?

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-09-23 13:18
The End of Narcissus
The Picture of Dorian Gray - Oscar Wilde,Camille Cauti

I have never read this one before now. I knew the bare bones of the story due to my high school English class having excerpts of the story. I guess I never wanted to read about a murdering guy who was too beautiful to live. Though I found parts of the story compelling, I found myself getting bored here and there. Probably because we would go some chapters and just read about what Dorian was up to. The book was much better when there was dialogue between characters. I also don't even get why Dorian killed Basil besides him just becoming unhinged. And him demanding another former friend help him just seemed stupid. So for most of the book I was waiting for him to get caught. Wilde ends things on an ironic note with how Dorian eventually ends up dying. 

 

"Dorian Gray" has the title character not coming into the story right away. Instead he is a discussion between Basil Hallward (who is a painter) and Lord Henry. Basil has become obsessed with painting someone and goes on about how perfectly beautiful he is. Basil doesn't want Lord Henry to meet Dorian since he foreshadows that somehow Lord Henry will ruin him. So before we even meet Dorian, we have two men battling over his soul. Lord Henry of course wants to meet Dorian since he likes beautiful people as long as they are not boring. 

When Dorian comes across Lord Henry he is flattered as his attention and almost instantly wishes to be more like him. While sitting for the painting Dorian wishes that he can stay young and beautiful before and that somehow the painting off him will age instead. Dorian is brought down by listening to Lord Henry and his long butt dialogues about what really matters in this world is enjoying everything though it may be wrong.

 

We fast forward a bit to Dorian being happy and telling Basil and Lord Henry that he met the woman he is going to marry. The woman is named Sibyl and she's an actress. It seemed at first that maybe Dorian could be good and lose Lord Henry's influence, but unfortunately things get really bad when Dorian takes his friends to see Sibyl and her acting as Juliet in Romeo and Juliet is awful. I mean you want to throw pies at her awful. Due to Dorian hating imperfect things he is quite ready to throw Sibyl away. Dorian doesn't feel bad about the way he has treated her until he comes upon the painting and sees that his mouth has now turned cruel. Wanting to make sure that his soul stays pure, Dorian decides he will stand by and still marry Sibyl, too bad he finds out that she killed herself over his rejection of her. From there the book just follows Dorian as he sets about ruining himself and others over 18 years. 

 

I did find myself getting quite bored at times. And weirdly enough I did agree with Dorian when he rejected Basil when he came to tell him that his reputation was being ruined in London. Dorian called his accusers hypocrites for doing the same things as he was, he was just not hiding it. Also I wonder at these men and women who let themselves be seduced by him. It sees as if only Basil and Lord Henry didn't sit around and do what Dorian wanted.


The book goes into a free fall after Basil is murdered with Dorian getting more scared that he will be found out and then scared that Sibyl's brother who has been hunting him for years will find him and kill him. 

 

In the end, Dorian dies after plunging a knife into the painting that he blames for all of his troubles. He is found by his servants and they are shocked at finding an old man in their master's chambers. Wilde heavily implies that no one will miss Dorian besides his servants. 

 

More posts
Your Dashboard view:
Need help?