Oscar Wilde Kindle Ú Paperback

Oscar Wilde Kindle Ú Paperback

  • Paperback
  • 736 pages
  • Oscar Wilde
  • Richard Ellmann
  • English
  • 22 January 2018
  • 9780394759845

10 thoughts on “Oscar Wilde

  1. MJ Nicholls MJ Nicholls says:

    Wilde had to live his life twice over, first in slow motion, then at top speed. During the first period he was a scapegrace, during the second a scapegoat. Richard Ellmann’s superlative bio ranks alongside the finest in the genre, with his earlier James Joyce volume already firmly in the pantheon. From Wilde’s unhumble beginnings as the son of two reputable writers, to his college days in the thrall of Ruskin and Pater, to his flowerings as a poet and spokesman for aestheticism, Ellmann presents the working Wilde, a complex contrarian and sneak-tongued snark, as he slowly becomes Wilde the Myth and Wilde the Wit. Parodied and pilloried since he first dared to lecture in knee-breeches, Wilde was always swatting enemies away and poking their hypocrarses, and as his career picked up traction, the vultures suppurated on the sidelines until the blood-axe dropped on the sweaty mattress of boneheaded bastard Bosie. Ellmann writes powerfully about Wilde’s trial and incarceration. The particularity of detail is breathtaking and presented always as a coherent, flowing and utterly captivating narrative, and when Wilde emerges from Reading into the beautiful and disgusting world, into a life of humiliation, penury, skin problems, loneliness, and separation in exile, you would need a heart of stone not to laugh at the preposterous imbecilities of the society Wilde was spoofing. The harsh brainless stupidity of Victorian England collapsed, and Wilde is remembered rightly as an avatar for truth, kindness, and zingy one-liners for every occasion. This fabulously exhaustive and definitive bio has the last word on Wilde, and since no one is ever likely to top it, is essential reading for all Oscarites.

  2. David David says:

    It seems obvious that this would get a 5-star review. The wit and genius of Oscar Wilde. A scandalous life. The proven track record of Ellmann. What's not to love?

    Answer - nothing. Ellmann doesn't make a single misstep in this astonishing biography. Imagine the challenges facing a Wilde biographer: the contradictions of an outrageous, larger-than-life subject whose brittle public persona masked his inner torments; Wilde's enormous drive, which led to success and acclaim, but also set in motion his ultimate fall from grace. Worse: so much already written, including Wilde's own glittering one-liners - what could anyone presume to add to already crowded record?

    But Ellmann, who worked for almost twenty years on this book, doesn't fail to deliver. In what will clearly be the definitive biography, he lays out details of Wilde's life, illuminates the work, and cuts through the brilliant and brittle public persona to show us Wilde's soul. All of this is accomplished with wit, intelligence and compassion -- this book confirmed Ellmann's status as the English professor I always wished I'd had.

    His final assessment of Wilde: He belongs to our world more than to Victoria's. Now, beyond the reach of scandal, his best writings validated by time, he comes before us still, a towering figure, laughing and weeping, with parables and paradoxes, so generous, so amusing, and so right.

    If I may be forgiven a paraphrase of Ellmann's own words, this biography is also so generous, so amusing, and so right. Sadly, overuse by undiscriminating reviewers has made the assessment, 'a tour de force' off-limits in a serious review. But I feel compelled to dust it off anyway, together with a few other adjectives from the forbidden list. Here goes:

    Ellmann's magisterial work, destined to be the definitive biography of Wilde, is a brilliant, breathtaking tour de force.

  3. Lord Beardsley Lord Beardsley says:

    Better Book Title: Dude, you really need to break up with that asshole.

    I've been an Oscar Wilde fan for many decades now, but I was always afraid to read this because it's THE DEFINITIVE BIG GIANT SCARY BIOGRAPHY on him. These kind of books always intimidate me, and until very recently I don't think I had the attention span it takes to take this one on. However, now that the world is spinning down a black hole of dystopian carnage, this book served as a welcome distraction! Instead of checking the news, I just went to read every. damn. footnote. Sad homosexual Victorians, sign me up.

    This is the only biography of this type that I couldn't put down, and I was pleasantly surprised at how engrossing it is. I feel like I understand Oscar Wilde much more, and also how creepy the Victorian period was. It's always good to look on the bright side of life, because things could always be so much worse!

    The last few chapters are painfully sad, and convey just what life in the worst case scenario could possibly be, except in Paris?

    This is a textbook example of Dude, you should really break up with that asshole because his boyfriend was a straight up awful person. The only good thing I can say about Lord Alfred Douglas was that he did contribute significantly (within his snobby ass social circle that is) to queer rights at a very early point in history. After that, he pretty much called it a day as far as good deeds are considered.

    If you love Oscar Wilde and want to escape reality, you should read this.

  4. Bruce Bruce says:

    This is a dense and detailed biography. I enjoyed it even if it was slow going. The more one read, the more enchanting the work became, probably because Wilde himself is so much larger than life. From the beginning he was outrageous and deliberately cultivated such a persona. And from the beginning self-destructive tendencies were apparent; he seemed always to be walking on the edge of a precipice, the question being when and how he would tumble. His personality was in some ways like that of Zorba the Greek, but the latter was without affectation, utterly natural, whereas one always has the sense that for Wilde at least half the presentation is pose. In this sense, Nietzsche would have, if he had had the chance, extolled Zorba but not Wilde, Zorba’s joie-de-vivre being inherent in his character, Wilde’s sometimes seeming more forced. Zorba seems simple, Wilde multi-faceted and conflicted. For this reason, Wilde suffers, Zorba just lives.

    Ellmann views Wilde as being the vivacious leader of the dying late-18th century artistic movement of aestheticism, although he did change as his life unfolded, refusing to be categorized or pigeon-holed. Ellmann is certainly correct in asserting that he was “indifferent to all life that was not social life.”

    Despite this biography’s being detailed, even exhaustive, and Ellmann certainly writes well, there is something about Wilde that remains elusive, a core “why” that remains unanswered and probably unanswerable. His life seems exclusively focused on sensations and impressions, the sensations he continually seeks to experience in ever greater variety, and the impressions he constantly seeks to make on others. It all seems very much on the surface, very superficial even in its intensely serious intent. Who really was Oscar Wilde, anyway?? He was a man who restlessly and relentlessly tried on new selves, new personae. Did he himself know who he was? Does any of us? Or is one of the tasks of self-realization the continual exploration of new depths and dimensions of the self? Throughout much of his life Wilde seems to have been aware that the result of his behavior would be tragic, that one could not live the life he chose to live without suffering painful consequences. Wilde was a singular and contradictory blend of the iconoclastic critic of conventional morality and what he interpreted as social hypocrisy, with great personal kindness and instinctive compassion, a blend of flaunting personal idiosyncrasy with underlying interpersonal loyalty and concern. Ultimately, his imprisonment broke him. Today we can enjoy the results of his amazing and exuberant creativity, remembering him as a man complex, paradoxical, and tragic. Tragic, yes, but vindicated by talent and by time.

  5. Dawn Dawn says:

    I am not, as I once claimed, Oscar Wilde. I lost the green coat—the one I wore to America, with tufts of fur falling out of the collar, with shapely cuffs. I lost the books (their dedications), shoes (the tipped ones, the ones you lace right up to your britches), and the shape of my wife’s mouth when she said it, when she called my name, even that, even when I didn’t come.

    And because I am not Oscar Wilde, because someone’s body is thinning in the dirt, I can still say this. Say, through this blue sheen, that he (Did you know they found shit smeared on the sheets of his bed? That boys young enough to climb stairs climbed the stairs of his suite?) that Oscar Wilde bled from the eyes and mouth right before—

    And I wonder (justly) if something might have exploded there, in his head, maybe something in the ear, something eating straight through. Maybe it was a little itch, a syphilis, that scratched the eyes’ interior. A disease that lived inside the tongue and the skull couldn’t hold it, couldn’t (either he or the wallpaper had to go).

    Oscar, if you place a glass of water on the bed, someone is bound to knock it over. The boy will spill it, the boy will capsize—a beautiful Greek boy—he will ride the sea’s black coattails all the way down. Your hyacinth, Oscar, will break the vase, break every part of the vase, out of beauty.

    So Oscar pushed up his shirtsleeves and (there, there are my hands—now take them) let them lead. The law. He listened (he never listened before) to the funny sound that hunger made, the crescendo, the bells turning up their skirts, the throttle of his throat, the ropes of his intestines wrung out. During the course of two years (it was only two years), the buzzing began. It was one prison, then another (there were only three); and he grew too large for the space, for a cell suited to the taking and leaving of prostitutes. He was too large for such of ceiling, for the blur of windows placed just below the ceiling, for all things having to do with penance.

    He wanted to read Dante in prison. He wanted the darkness he squinted into to take a form, any form, to become black pages, one after another ruffling under his fingers. He wanted the weight to shift from his right hand to the left, and then the book would end like an accordion squeezed shut, finally silent.

    He wanted to learn Italian, so after prison the words would not appear misplaced. He wanted to ride of the back of those words, to stuff himself into the new tongues forming around his teeth. I will write a play, he said. And he didn’t. I will write a poem, he said, and it was bad. I have forgotten everything he said, and the slits of eyes stared back at him.

    Maybe there will be new boys. New cigarette cases. Lectures. He thought this, but No. His wife changed her name and died. He never looked at his children again. He held a hand mirror, held it over his anus and strained to see. And in this thinning hair, in this new kind of bankruptcy, there was nothing to send to the children in prison, the ones locked up for shooting rabbits. For them, nothing.

  6. Brian Bess Brian Bess says:

    Wilde at his wildest and mildest

    After reading this book, I cannot help but review Oscar Wilde, the man and his life, as if it were a work of art in itself, as much as I can this biography of Wilde as depicted by Richard Ellmann. Wilde, as much as any historical figure, certainly as much as any creative figure, speaks loudly as an artifact of the age he embodied and from which he was consumed and discarded and as a creative figure whose own life was arguably a greater work of art than anything he ever wrote or said.

    Before addressing Wilde, let’s evaluate Ellman’s book on its own merits. He presents everything you ever wanted to know about Oscar Wilde and then some. Admittedly, the voluminous number of acquaintances, companions and foes whose paths crossed with Wilde’s is overwhelming and it requires a monumental juggling act to keep track of all the players and how they intersect with each other and revolve around Wilde, the sun of this biographical solar system. Ellmann does an admirable job of this, although I was lost quite frequently and had to backtrack to find the first mention of an individual to identify the original relation to Wilde and draw a line in my mind between an individual once kindly disposed toward him and the person that ostracized and avoided him during and after his disgrace.

    One might view the ordeal and persecution of Wilde in the 19th century and conclude that he could live very openly and comfortably in the 21st century where gay and bisexual characters appear daily in all forms of media. That would seem to be an erroneous interpretation when one sees that Wilde was inextricably linked to the time and culture in which he lived. He was a product of Victorian England and he, by design as well as circumstance, paid the price for bringing an aspect of human sexuality and behavior to the unavoidable attention of a society that dared not think of, much less, speak the name of the abomination which Wilde represented to them.

    Wilde’s creativity, imagination and wit were all intertwined with his identity as provocateur, even as he sought the favor of respectable society. He felt compelled to seek out the ‘nameless’ side of human nature, specifically in a mutually destructive relationship with a powder keg of a young man, Lord Alfred Douglas. At the same time in which Oscar was fulfilling his authentic identity, that vehicle for his liberation was also the route to his undoing and downfall from the heights of success. Wilde could probably have saved himself from prison by following the advice of his long-suffering but tolerant wife Constance and his loyal friend Robbie Ross and living in exile in another country. However, he could not run. Staying and fighting, even if it led to prison was in his constitution and had been instilled in him by his very litigious mother.

    Ellmann repeatedly refers to Wilde as a kind and considerate man and in many respects this is true. He was generous even when he was in dire financial straits himself and he lavished gifts and compliments in purple prose as if he possessed an endless supply of both. It appears to me, however, that his greatest sin, more so than any of his ‘indecent’ activities, was his neglect of his wife and children, the innocent victims of Oscar’s hedonistic quest for self-fulfillment.

    Utimately, Oscar Wilde’s greatest creation was ‘Oscar Wilde’, a work of art that overshadows even his greatest prose work, The Picture of Dorian Gray, as well as his greatest play, The Importance of Being Earnest. It perhaps surprised him as much as anyone else that the play of his life that he originally conceived as a comedy was quickly transformed in its final act into tragedy.

  7. Pesh Pesh says:

    this is one of my dearest treasures for the year 2008.what i have is actually a hardcover, picked at my 'used books' store for the price of my normal dinner at my favourite 'fast foods'. i couldnt believe it!!

    it's a great story about a great person.

    here is the most important thing about it: it is written with a subjective, condemning tone. and i felt the author should have surpassed the shadows of his subject's sexuality and other personality weaknesses, to simply objectively tell us the story!!!

  8. Suzanne Stroh Suzanne Stroh says:

    Lady Wilde almost runs away with the first half of this dense, beautifully written biography that won Ellmann a Pulitzer prize.

    I agree with reviewers who commented that perhaps there was a bit too much detail for entry-level readers. The sheer competency of this treatment of Oscar Wilde's brilliant, sad and troubled life means that we may never get the kind of definitive work I'd like.

    Ellmann, writing to midcentury literary tastes, treats Wilde's sexuality too obliquely for young audiences today, and readers will be left confused about this central aspect of Wilde's life--central, I mean, because it was the aspect solely responsible for his downfall. In my ideal biography of Wilde, readers would clearly understand the coded boundaries and behaviors that closeted gays and lesbians of the era also clearly understood. In order to effect that, the biographer needs to write plainly and clearly about sex, erotic love and sexual practices. But who would ever revise a work so beloved, so thorough and well-researched, unless critical new source material came to light?

    As I work on the translation of Élisabeth de Gramont, the eternal mate of Natalie Barney, I am struck by Wildeana that Ellmann doesn't even cover in a footnote. He should have done. It's a true story that strains credulity in fiction, and Oscar would have been pleased to have it included.

    While on his American tour, Oscar Wilde rescued a pretty, blonde, six-year-old girl along a stretch of heavily leisured mid-Atlantic coastline. She was being taunted by her playmates. Oscar, full of the tenderness that was a lesser-known hallmark of his life on earth (beautifully treated by Richard Ellmann), decided to intervene. He took the little girl in his arms, sat her on his lap and told her a fairy tale. It was one of his own. Imagine that experience!

    That girl was Natalie Barney, the great 20th century lesbian seducer, who was to make her life in Paris and write volumes of epigrams that stand up to many of Wilde's wittiest and most biting. Wilde's actions on the beach that day made a lifelong impression on Natalie Barney; so much so that she developed a magnetic attraction for Wilde's family. Around 1910 she became the lover of Bosie's wife, Olive Custance, and was the godmother of their child. And then, in the 1920s, she formed an even deeper, lengthier liaison with Oscar's lookalike niece, Dolly.

    Oscar, Bosie, Dolly: Natalie Barney held them all in the palm of her hand. All because of a small kindness. One of so many Oscar is never remembered for.

  9. Mary Pagones Mary Pagones says:

    This still remains for many the gold standard and first reference for any study of Wilde. I used it as a reference book, and didn't read it cover to cover, but have read or will read most of it. It's particularly interesting for its early portrait of Wilde as a student, although the details grow a bit more sketchy about his later life, particularly after he became more involved with Douglas. I'd highly recommend this to be read in conjunction with Neil McKenna's more recent The Secret Life of Oscar Wilde. McKenna brings to light the fact that Wilde was in relationships with men long before Wilde met Robbie Ross, and much of his sexual life, while Ellmann's analysis of Wilde's major works, as well as some hilarious behind-the-scenes anecdotes about Wilde's relationships with other authors, artists, actors, and famous figures fully fleshes out the portrait of this fascinating man. Still, given Wilde's complexity, always remember that this is a great launching pad, and studying Wilde (despite his relatively short life) is a lifelong labor.

  10. Johnny D Johnny D says:

    This book is a haunting and beautiful biography of the don of the Aesthetic Movement. It traces his life from his early days as the son of a prominent physician father and an eccentric socialite mother (Sperenza) to his competition with Bram Stoker for the hand of Frances Balcombe, to his early homosexual experiments and final death amod disgrace and anonymity in the exile of France.

    Richard Ellmann wields his pen with alacrity, grace, and an intense sympathy for his subject that may leave you in tears. A work of astonishing beauty

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Oscar Wilde❴Read❵ ➵ Oscar Wilde Author Richard Ellmann – Centrumpowypadkowe.co.uk The biography sensitive to the tragic pattern of the story of a great subject: Oscar Wildepsychologically and sexually complicated, enormously quotable, central to an alluring cultural world and someo The biography sensitive to the tragic pattern of the story of a great subject: Oscar Wildepsychologically and sexually complicated, enormously quotable, central to an alluring cultural world and someone whose life assumed an unbearably dramatic shape.

About the Author: Richard Ellmann

Richard David Ellmann was a prominent American literary critic and biographer of the Irish writers James Joyce, Oscar Wilde, and William Butler Yeats Ellmann's James Joyce , for which he won the National Book Award in , is considered one of the most acclaimed literary biographies of the th century and the revised edition of the work was similarly recognised with the award of the.