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De Profundis and Other Writings (Penguin…

De Profundis and Other Writings (Penguin Classics) (1954)

by Oscar Wilde

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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English (5)  French (1)  All languages (6)
Showing 5 of 5
This is brilliant and heartbreaking and frustrating as hell.

When it comes to lust Oscar Wilde is no different than every man on Sugardaddy.com. Find a pretty young thing, pay his/her bills, and then become completely undone when s/he turns out to be in it for the supply of cash! Lord Alfred was a terrible man all throughout his life. He loved Hitler and the Klan and wished for both to descend upon England, he lived off others, he was a textbook narcissist. But he wasn't hiding anything. He consistently told Wilde who he was, through actions yes, but also explicitly through words. Wilde's "why did you make me rack up debts and enter into inadvisable legal actions?" shtick would be sad if it wasn't so clear he deserved it. In the last moments of this English gentleman's version of a primal scream Wilde beseeches his sugar baby to explain why he has not visited in prison. He hasn't visited because the gravy train was derailed. And even as he rots in prison Wilde refuses to acknowledge the truth of it. He whines, he analyzes, but never does he say that he is a vain idiot who let a pretty boy destroy his life. Love is not that blind. Lust is that blind. Pride is that blind/ But love? No.

So other than that Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play? Well, it was freaking great. Wilde is brilliant, and his writing on the nature of art and self is moving and wise and gorgeous. I spent hours transfixed by Wilde's words, and then I flipped back to page 1 and re-read swaths of the book. I am quite certain I will go back and do it again, eventually. When I reread this, I will wonder anew at how Wilde could so completely fail to lend his prodigious wisdom to his own life. His was, perhaps, a fitting end for an aesthete, but that makes the end no less tragic and makes the loss of Wilde before the age of 50 no less lamentable. ( )
  Narshkite | Mar 4, 2019 |
The gods are strange. It is not our vices only they make instruments to scourge us. They bring us to ruin through what in us is good, gentle, humane, loving.

While the circumstances of these pieces were tragic, I wasn't moved as I had anticipated. My recent immersion in Will Self had prompted a fit for literary biography and I thought this could be foundational for an Ellmann or two.

Soul of Man is simply wonky. It is a treatise on Art and Law which doesn't begin to ascribe to reality. We watched Modern Times last night and I thought Wilde's Socialism in that context.

De Profundis conversely is steeped in betrayal and the weakness of the flesh. Wilde probes along, establishing detailed accounts of his troubled relationship-- one which bankrupted him and led to his imprisonment. His love for Bosie Douglas is painted patiently, paragraph by paragraph. Bosie isn't a straw man but a talisman of desire, despite how destructive it proved. Bedding Bosie became an enchanted portrait: the cost of such was but everything. It is interesting reflecting on this how martyrdom becomes an enveloping proposition. ( )
  jonfaith | Feb 22, 2019 |
Extremely well-written and interesting. It belongs, admirably, to the canon of Oscar Wilde's works. I was very impressed-- especially with De Profundis. Well worth the read! ( )
  DanielSTJ | Dec 18, 2018 |
I'm certainly in the minority on this one. We read it for my reading club. I found it to be pretentious, narcissistic and silly. Couldn't finish this one. ( )
  ecw0647 | Sep 30, 2013 |
Incredibly sad, given knowing what the end would be. So very short and moving, with nothing of what you expect from him. Jail stripped away all the pretences. ( )
  collingsruth | Apr 4, 2012 |
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» Add other authors (21 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Oscar Wildeprimary authorall editionscalculated
Pearson, HeskethIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Toibin, ColmEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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At the start of 1895, Oscar Wilde was the toast of London, widely feted for his most recent stage success, 'An Ideal Husband'. But by May of the same year, Wilde was in Reading prison sentenced to hard labour. 'De Profundis' is an epistolic account of Oscar Wilde's spiritual journey while in prison, and describes his new, shocking conviction that '… (more)

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