Oscar Wilde: His Life and Confessions cover

Oscar Wilde: His Life and Confessions

Frank Harris

1. 00 – Author’s Introduction
2. 01 – I. Oscar’s Father and Mother on Trial
3. 02 – II. Oscar Wilde as a Schoolboy
4. 03 – III. Trinity, Dublin: Magdalen, Oxford
5. 04 – IV. Formative Influences: Oscar’s Poems
6. 05 – V. Oscar’s Quarrel with Whistler and Marriage
7. 06 – VI. Oscar Wilde’s Faith and Practice
8. 07 – VII. Oscar’s Reputation and Supporters
9. 08 – VIII. Oscar’s Growth to Originality About 1890
10. 09 – IX. The Summer of Success: Oscar’s First Play
11. 10 – X. The First Meeting with Lord Alfred Douglas
12. 11 – XI. The Threatening Cloud Draws Nearer
13. 12 – XII. Danger Signals: the Challenge
14. 13 – XIII. Oscar Attacks Queensberry and is Worsted
15. 14 – XIV. How Genius is Persecuted in England
16. 15 – XV. The Queen vs. Wilde: The First Trial
17. 16 – XVI. Escape Rejected: The Second Trial and Sentence
18. 17 – XVII. Prison and the Effects of Punishment
19. 18 – XVIII. Mitigation of Punishment; but not Release
20. 19 – XIXa. His St. Martin’s Summer: His Best Work – Part One
21. 20 – XIXb. His St. Martin’s Summer: His Best Work – Part Two
22. 21 – XX. The Results of His Second Fall: His Genius
23. 22 – XXI. His Sense of Rivalry; His Love of Life and Laziness
24. 23 – XXII. ‘A Great Romantic Passion!’
25. 24 – XXIII. His Judgments of Writers and of Women
26. 25 – XXIV. We Argue About His ‘Pet Vice’ and Punishment
27. 26 – XXV. The Last Hope Lost
28. 27 – XXVI. The End
29. 28 – XXVII. A Last Word

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Consumers of biography are familiar with the division between memoirs of the living or recently dead written by those who “knew” the subject more or less intimately, and the more objective or scholarly accounts produced by later generations.In the case of Wilde, as presented to us by Frank Harris, we are in a way doubly estranged from the subject. We meet with Oscar the charismatic talker, whose tone of voice can never be reproduced – even if a more scrupulous biographer had set down his words accurately – and we are perhaps already aware of him as Wilde the self-destructive celebrity who uneasily fills the place of the premier gay icon and martyr in our contemporary view.Neither of these images will do. We need to read as many accounts as possible. Harris, though himself a self-advertising literary and sexual buccaneer, takes a wincingly representative view of Wilde’s homophile activity: for him it is a patrician excrescence, the abominable vice of the few, contracted at English boarding schools – though thankfully “not infectious” as far as he himself is concerned.What a long road we have to travel to arrive at the essentially gay man of today! But there are many shortcuts to take us back to where we came from…


Rose Wood

- Oscar & his life

What an interesting read--The shame & scandal. Poor Oscar he had no chance I want to read more of his books already listened to Importance of Being Earnest, funny & enjoyable.