After establishing The Innocence of Edith Thompson (Roy, 1953), unjustly convicted for the murder of her husband in the...

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THE FOLLIES AND FRIENDSHIPS OF OSCAR WILDE

After establishing The Innocence of Edith Thompson (Roy, 1953), unjustly convicted for the murder of her husband in the 1920's, Mr. Broad acquits Wilde too of the more heinous perversions attributed to him- in a biography that makes its mark as both scholarly and fascinating. Convinced that Wilde became a fundamentally changed person after his marriage rather than the pervert he appeared to Victorians, the author takes pains with his analysis of Wilde's geneology and youth. Along with the events of his life, there are the early personal relationships- the domineering mother, the ""pithecoid"" and lustful father- might have had their share in the shaping of Wilde's character. Moving on, Broad takes Wilde through his Oxford and London days and his narrative has much of the sparkle and wit and the gossip of an aging era. Conversational passages about Wilde and his friends- Sherard, Ross and later the fiery Douglas- often read like a good novel. Wilde's poems and other writings, analyzed and commented on as they shaped on were shaped by his life, contribute to the very critical quality of the biography. The high point, and Broad's deepest interest, lies in the Old Bailey trial, with Wilde brought to court by Douglas' angry father, the Marquis of Queensbury, on grounds of corrupting morals. It is here that Wilde's basic wit and gentleness stands out most sharply against the accusations and as one follows Wilde to jail and a sad exile, one cannot help but form a sympathetic picture of a sincere, brilliant, misunderstood and throughly unfortunate man. A polished, qualified study. Controversial.

Pub Date: Feb. 14, 1954

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Crowell

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1954