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Oscar Wilde

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Oscar Wilde By Richard EllmanOscar Wilde is a comprehensive (my paperback copy is well over 600 pages long with the index) and acclaimed biography by Richard Ellmann. The book took two decades to complete and was only finished shortly before the author’s death. Ellman completed the biography in the face of incurable illness and his affection and love for the subject shines through this astonishingly erudite and very sympathetic account of the writer’s life. ‘Oscar Wilde,’ writes Ellman. ‘We only have to hear the great name to anticipate that what will be quoted as his will surprise and delight us. Among the writers identified with the 1890s, Wilde is the only one who everybody still reads. The various labels that have been applied to the age – Aestheticism, Decadence – ought not to conceal the fact that our first association with it is Wilde – refulgent, majestic, ready to fall.’ The book is split into five sections (BEGINNINGS, ADVANCES, EXALTATIONS, DISGRACE, EXILE), each of which consists of chapters and is like a mini-book in itself.

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