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Oscar Wilde's Libel Case Begins (1895) Options
Posted: Monday, April 03, 2017 12:00:00 AM
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Oscar Wilde's Libel Case Begins (1895)

When the marquess of Queensbury became convinced that his son, Alfred Douglas, was having an affair with Wilde, he began to rail against the author and playwright, publicly accusing Wilde of sodomy, a crime at the time. At Douglas's urging, Wilde sued the marquess for libel. He not only lost the case, but was in turn charged with homosexual offenses and arrested. Wilde was convicted in an internationally notorious trial and served two years hard labor. What did he write while in prison? More...
Posted: Monday, April 03, 2017 6:22:48 AM

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Sodomy:A moral crime both vigorously condemned and enthusiastically practiced by the Roman Catholic Church

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Posted: Monday, April 03, 2017 7:27:52 AM

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Oscar Wilde’s De Profundis – one of the greatest love letters ever written

Written towards the end of Wilde’s incarceration, De Profundis is bitter, seductive, hurt and passionate.

Thus Wilde, alone in his cell, was given pen and ink every day. What he wrote was removed each evening and then, it seems, handed back to him in the morning, or parts were given back to him to revise. Since “De Profundis” was in the form of a long letter, it would be his property when he was free. It took him three months, with much revision.

Wilde addressed his letter to Lord Alfred Douglas. On his release, he handed the manuscript to Ross, who had two typed copies made, one of which he sent to Douglas. In 1905 Ross published extracts from the text, and a fuller version in 1908. The complete version, however, was not published until 1949.

By the time he wrote “De Profundis”, Wilde’s love for Douglas had turned into a sort of bitterness, and the tone of his long letter manages to capture that bitterness as well as the extraordinary attachment he felt for Douglas. “De Profundis”, it should be said, is neither fair minded nor consistent; it is, at times, bloated in its comparisons and its rhetoric. (Wilde, for example, compares himself to Christ.) But there is also a beautiful, calm eloquence, and a sense of urgency, of things being said because there might not be time or opportunity to say them in the future.

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