• I have yet to read anything about Oscar Wilde’s trial, and just added this to my “to read” list a few days ago, so this post comes at great timing for me! Sounds like a good place for a Wilde novice like me to start.

    • Goody! I love him! Since you didn’t ask, Merlin Holland’s The Real Trial of Oscar Wilde is an amazing and well-end-noted transcript of Wilde’s first trial, the libel one; and Gary Schmidgall’s The Stranger Wilde is generally marvelous and deals with the trials (among other things). YOU ARE WELCOME.

      • Haha, thanks! Also, Merlin Holland? What. A. Name.

  • Katy

    I was in the library looking for books for an essay that’s due in a few days, and I was procrastinating by reading your blog when I realized that actually this is the very book I need for my essay, and I just went and checked it out. So thank you very much!

    • You’re welcome! If you ever, ever, ever need recommendations for books about any Oscar Wilde topic, please get in touch with me straight away and I WILL HELP YOU. FOREVER.

  • I love it when you talk Oscar Wilde to me!

    We were watching the Ben Barnes/ Colin Firth movie of Dorian Gray this weekend and I was sitting there thinking that some of the “twisted soul” business was about the way Wilde’s tastes were seen as twisted in his society; he said once that the painter, Dorian, and the older friend in that story were all aspects of how he was seen by others.

    • Hahahaha, look, I will talk Oscar Wilde to you EVERY SINGLE EVERY DAY. (I am using lots of caps in my comment replies right now but only because I have had several beers on an empty stomach.)

      The thing you mention that Oscar Wilde said is one of my favorite things to tell people when they have just read Dorian Gray. 😀

      What did you think about the Dorian Gray film? My sensors got thrown off because Rebecca Hall was in it, and I have the hugest girl-crush on Rebecca Hall and deeply resent that she is not a trillion times famouser than she is.

      • The teenagers and I loved the Dorian Gray film, but maybe not for the same reasons the filmmakers might have hoped. We’ve been calling it “Dorian Gray Gets Some Tail.” I had a conversation with Trapunto about it in the comments to last week’s post on Maul.

  • Ela

    I remember coming across an egregiously horrible reference to Wilde in one of Dornford Yates’ non-fiction books (Yates’s fiction is full of xenophobia, particularly against the Germans, and class stereotypes), in which Bosie was painted as the good guy and led astray by Wilde… (though the anecdote was primarily about the lawyer Marshall Hall).

    I don’t understand the attraction myself, but the rant against Wilde was quite disconcertingly vicious.

    • I will look it up posthaste! In the meantime, I loathe Dornford Yates forever. :p

  • Amber

    I know I’m replying pretty late (REALLY late), but I wouldn’t recommend the McKenna. There are almost no citations, and he streches his claims pretty far (read: fabricates things).
    Even the reviews of that book on Amazon tax my sanity. Lots of people applying modern day morality to Wilde’s relationships with boys who would now be considered underage.There was also one reviewer who somehow got the idea that Wilde was about to “pimp out” one of his sons to Douglas (?!?) -that is nowhere mentioned or implied in the book of course, so she made this up out of her own sick head. Ugghh, people. *hides under covers*

    But if you want some out-there opinions…

    • Gin Jenny

      I haven’t read the McKenna and have kind of decided not to, based on stuff I read about it and reviews I read of it. It seems, anyway, tremendously reductive to frame Oscar Wilde only through the lens of his sexual life.

      Do you think the Amazon reviewer who said that extremely yucky thing was thinking of that story Andre Gide tells? Andre Gide tells this story, which I sincerely doubt is true, that when he was visiting Oscar Wilde once, little Cyril was in the room playing or whatever, and after he left the room, Bosie said to Andre Gide, “He will be for me.” Rings false, doesn’t it?

      • Amber

        *Shudder* Eh, it kinda sounds like the sort of thing Douglas would say, unfortunately. I haven’t investigated this until now. What do you think (in more detail)?

        • Gin Jenny

          I think Andre Gide was prone to sensationalizing, particularly where Oscar Wilde was concerned. He liked to exaggerate Oscar Wilde into this monster of evil who was ruining his life, and I’m guessing he did the same with Bosie (who was anyway a nastier person than Oscar Wilde was). I’d also add that while Bosie was a little shit in his youth and remained one throughout most if not all of his life, there’s nothing to suggest that he was interested in little boys. So I think either Gide made it all up (that seems likely), or Bosie said it to shock Gide (also possible).

          • Amber

            Yep, both explainations seem very plausible. Given the kind of man Gide was, nothing he said can be taken at face value.
            “Little shit’ is right, but I have some sympathy for the guy. Mental illness tends to run in families, so when you have someone genetically predisposed to something, and their home life is far from ideal, they’re doomed from the beginning.