Saturday, November 30, 2013
NOVEMBER 30 = Oscar Wilde Dies
"Morality does not help me. I am a born antinomian.* I am one
of those who are made for exceptions, not for laws. But while I
see that there is nothing wrong in what one does, I see that
there is something wrong in what one becomes. It is well that I
have learned this."
* = "antinomian": one who rejects a socially established morality.
Osacr Wilde's Demise
So wrote Oscar Wilde in March of 1897 in an exceptionally long letter to Lord Alfred Douglas. Wilde died of cerebral meningitis on
"I like persons better than principles, and I like persons with no principles better than anything else in the world."
Oscar Wilde and "Bosie"
The Marquess of Queensbury, a brutish and rude man, publicly accused Wilde of conducting a homosexual relationship with his son, Douglas (Wilde's "Bosie") by leaving his card at Wilde's club addressed to "Oscar Wilde posing as a sodomite (below)." Wilde sued the Marquess for libel, but that suit failed, when evidence of Wilde's other
The Wit of Oscar Wilde
Wilde was known for his flowing wit, but one of his best moments came with two simple words in an exchange recorded by Barbara Tuchman:
"Since the death of Tennyson in 1895, the post (of Poet Laureate of England) had remained vacant....(many of the would-be) candidates were mediocrities, one of whom, Sir Lewis Morris, offered an opening to what a contemporary called 'the most spontaneously witty thing ever uttered in England'. Morris, who wanted the Laureateship badly, complained to Oscar Wilde, 'There is a conspiracy of silence against me, a conspiracy of silence. What ought I to do, Oscar?'
'Join it.' replied Wilde."
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"The Letters of Oscar Wilde" Harcourt, Brace & World, New York, 1962; p. 468.
"Oscar Wilde: A Certain Genius" by Barbara Belford, Random House, New York, 2000; pp. 305-06.
"The Proud Tower: A Portrait of the World Before the War, 1890-1914" by Barbara Tuchman, Macmillan Co., 1966, Folio Society edition, 1997; p. 32.
Image of Wilde: