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Oscar Wilde af Richard Ellmann
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Oscar Wilde (original 1987; udgave 1988)

af Richard Ellmann (Forfatter)

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
1,95498,426 (4.31)87
In this long-awaited biography, Wilde the legendary Victorian--brilliant writer and conversationalist, reckless flouter of social and sexual conventions--is brought to life. More astute and forbearing, yet more fallible than legend has allowed, Wilde is given here the dimensions of a modern hero. The author depicts Wilde's comet-like ascent on the Victorian scene and his equally dramatic sudden eclipse. He presents Wilde's Irish background, the actresses to whom he paid court, his unfortunate wife and lovers, his clothes, coiffures, and the decor of his rooms. The saga of his 1882 American tour is recounted with a wealth of new details; also his later impact on the bastions of the French literary establishment. The London of the Nineties, of Whistler and the Pre-Raphaelites, Lillie Langtry and the Prince of Wales, is evoked alongside Paris of the "belle époque" and the Greece, Italy and North Africa of Wilde's travels. This critical account of Wilde's entire oeuvre shows him as the proponent of a radical new aesthetic who was perilously at odds with Victorian society. After his period of success and daring, the fatal love affair with Lord Alfred Douglas is followed by exposure, imprisonment, a few wretched years abroad and death in exile. The tragic end of Wilde's life leaves the reader with a sense of compassion and grief for the protagonist.… (mere)
Medlem:RunLonger
Titel:Oscar Wilde
Forfattere:Richard Ellmann (Forfatter)
Info:Vintage (1988), 736 pages
Samlinger:Dit bibliotek
Vurdering:
Nøgleord:Ingen

Work Information

Oscar Wilde af Richard Ellmann (Author) (1987)

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Engelsk (8)  Italiensk (1)  Alle sprog (9)
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‘I have lived. Yes, I have lived. I drank the sweet, I drank the bitter, and I found the bitterness in the sweetness and the sweetness in the bitterness.’

Se amate questo scrittore, non potete assolutissimamente perdervi questa biografia. Sappiate che quando avrete voltato l'ultima pagina, saprete quasi quante volte andava in bagno Mr. Wilde. Il lavoro svolto da Ellmann, infatti, è certosino e accurato, oltre ad aver coperto quasi un ventennio della sua vita.

Detto questo, sappiate che ho impiegato due settimane circa per costringermi a continuare la lettura dal momento che ho letto Lord Douglas. Voi vi chiederete che bisogno ne avessi mai, visto che anche le pietre conoscono per sommi capi le vicende della vita di Wilde. Be', credetemi, non sono mai stata tanto felice di essermi presa del tempo prima di proseguire una lettura. Il fatto è che passa un oceano tra “sapere la biografia per sommi capi” e “conoscere lo strazio che è stato inflitto a quest'uomo”. E dire che ho anche letto il De Profundis. Non si può dire che non fossi preparata (e, infatti, ho optato per prendere fiato prima di sapere).

Il punto è che è difficile oggi non percepire come orribilmente ingiusta la pena inflitta a Wilde, con tutto ciò che ne è seguito. Come per il massacro degli indios nelle Americhe o per la persecuzione dei cristiani nell'antica Roma, la nostra mente ha ben chiaro quanto sia stato sbagliato (o almeno lo è per quelle menti lontane da una particolare forma di stupidità). Questo, infatti, induce Ellmann a commentare, a chiusa della biografia, che Oscar Wilde è più un uomo del nostro tempo che dell'epoca vittoriana.

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.

Oggi non troveremmo niente di sbagliato nel pretendere che la società ci accetti per come siamo e si vergogni della propria ipocrisia, e anche Wilde era di questo avviso.

He asked it to tolerate aberrations from the norm, such as homosexuality, to give up its hypocrisy both by recognizing social facts and by acknowledging that its principles were based upon hatred rather than love, leading to privation of personality as of art.

Ma la società vittoriana inglese non aveva nessuna intenzione di cedere alla richiesta di Wilde, e sappiamo come è andata a finire. È davvero straziante leggerlo nero su bianco, sia i terribili anni della prigionia (quando malattia e malnutrizione erano scambiati per pigrizia e riluttanza al dovere), sia l'esilio (che a Wilde in alcuni momenti sembrò peggiore dello stesso carcere, quando molti che erano stati suoi amici si voltavano dall'altra parte se lo incrociavano per strada).

His stubbornness, his courage, and his gallantry also kept him there. He had always met adversity head on, to face hostile journalists, moralistic reviewers, and canting, ranting fathers. A man so concerned with his image disdained to think of himself as a fugitive, skulking in dark corners instead of lording it in the limelight. He preferred to be a great figure, doomed by fate and the unjust laws of a foreign country.

The move took place on 21 November, and proved to be the single most humiliating experience of Wilde’s prison life. Handcuffed and in prison clothing, he had to wait on the platform at Clapham Junction from two to half past two on a rainy afternoon. A crowd formed, first laughing and then jeering at him. One man recognized that this was Oscar Wilde, and spat at him. ‘For a year after that was done to me,’ Wilde wrote in De Profundis, ‘I wept every day at the same hour and for the same space of time.’

One warder was assigned to cut his hair, which at Wandsworth had been allowed to grow out a little. ‘Must it be cut?’ asked Wilde, with tears in his eyes; ‘you don’t know what it means to me.’ It was cut.

‘Why do you not write now?’ she asked. ‘Because I have written all there was to write. I wrote when I did not know life, now that I know the meaning of life, I have no more to write.’ Then, less penitently, he said, ‘I have found my soul. I was happy in prison because I found my soul.’ Anna de Brémont felt close to tears, but they had reached the pier, and he said, ‘Contessa, don’t sorrow for me,’ and left her. ( )
  lasiepedimore | Aug 30, 2023 |
The only biography - quite simply a masterpiece. (Except for the unfortunate photograph of 'Oscar' in drag, mistakenly identified by Ellmann.) ( )
  Angela.Kingston | May 1, 2013 |
Maybe the best literary biography ever written. ( )
  JayLivernois | Oct 28, 2009 |
Richard Ellman won the Pulitzer for his work on Oscar Wilde, and with good reason: it's not only the definitive look at the Irish poet, playwright, critic, and martyr, but it's also a ripping good read. Wilde was a movie star in a time before movies, a tabloid staple, and a constant bestseller, and Ellmann makes him -- and his work -- come alive.

Following Wilde's rise to literary and theatrical fame, a series of colossally bad decisions lead to his imprisonment and disgrace -- another ending we know is coming and want desperately for our subject to avoid. In Ellmann's capable hands -- especially as he traces the poet's final frustrating years -- Wilde emerges not so much a victim of Victorian morals but rather of his own ego and genius. And we're more than ready to forgive him for it. ( )
2 stem brianjayjones | Jun 17, 2009 |
There is no doubt about the quality of this biography. Every facet of Wilde is revealed in careful context and Ellmann is in sympathy with this larger than life character "laughing and weeping with parables and paradoxes".
He shows Wilde to be an extreme egoist who diligently builds up his "succès de scandale" seeking extensive letters of introduction before visiting America or France and pushing for meetings with the artistically famous. He becomes the leading "decadent" in already decadent late Victorian society with his silly aphorisms eg. "It's always a mistake to be innocent. To be criminal takes imagination and courage" - "the perfect hedonist is the saint ..... one is always good when one is happy" etc. etc. As a fashion socialist he forsees with approval the "annihilation of property, family life, marriage and jealousy" and he certainly annihilated his own marriage with his lies, broken promises and homosexual relationships.
He ends his life a lonely and penniless vagabond around Paris cafés.
A good book but I don't like the subject. ( )
  Miro | Mar 22, 2009 |
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Ellmann, RichardForfatterprimær forfatteralle udgaverbekræftet
Wilde, OscarSubjectmedforfatteralle udgaverbekræftet
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In this long-awaited biography, Wilde the legendary Victorian--brilliant writer and conversationalist, reckless flouter of social and sexual conventions--is brought to life. More astute and forbearing, yet more fallible than legend has allowed, Wilde is given here the dimensions of a modern hero. The author depicts Wilde's comet-like ascent on the Victorian scene and his equally dramatic sudden eclipse. He presents Wilde's Irish background, the actresses to whom he paid court, his unfortunate wife and lovers, his clothes, coiffures, and the decor of his rooms. The saga of his 1882 American tour is recounted with a wealth of new details; also his later impact on the bastions of the French literary establishment. The London of the Nineties, of Whistler and the Pre-Raphaelites, Lillie Langtry and the Prince of Wales, is evoked alongside Paris of the "belle époque" and the Greece, Italy and North Africa of Wilde's travels. This critical account of Wilde's entire oeuvre shows him as the proponent of a radical new aesthetic who was perilously at odds with Victorian society. After his period of success and daring, the fatal love affair with Lord Alfred Douglas is followed by exposure, imprisonment, a few wretched years abroad and death in exile. The tragic end of Wilde's life leaves the reader with a sense of compassion and grief for the protagonist.

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