I GIVE YOU OSCAR WILDE by Desmond Hall

I GIVE YOU OSCAR WILDE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Wilde once said ""Books are well written or badly written. That is all."" He was so right. Sub-titled a ""biographical novel,"" this gives Mr. Hall considerable freeform license to extemporize--some very orotund dialogue (""I am bursting with love, saturated, double, triple-dyed in love, at every pore I ooze love."") and one character. This is Lawrence Young of New York City who is seen sharing a cabin with Wilde at the opening of the book, when Wilde is on the way to the U.S. to lecture, and again years later just before his death. In between, this is a re-run of the story which can have few surprises and even less shock value today: his marriage to Constance Lloyd whom he loved extravagantly to begin with; his diminishing passion after five years; the constant debts; the success--the plays; and then Bosie, the sulky golden boy whose ""rose-leaf lips...breathed..honey breath into his lungs."" Enough--follows the long trial, the harsh sentence, and the last months on the continent, sipping absinthe. Snatches of letters, plays, poems employed throughout serve the poor man better since, certainly in the more intimate sequences, he can scarcely survive the fatuity of Mr. Hall's love prose. After all Wilde also said: ""For he that lives more lives than one/More deaths than one must die.

Pub Date: April 19th, 1965
Publisher: NAL-World