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Oscar Wilde: A Certain Genius download epub

by Barbara Belford


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OSCAR WILDE; A CERTAIN GENIUS, is a great read. Barbara Belford does an excellent job explaining Wilde's success and his self-destruction. Her book is filled with anecdotes about and insights into Wilde's brilliance and his impact on Britain in the last decades of the nineteenth century. OSCAR WILDE should appeal to those readers who want Oscar plain (if that's possible) as opposed to a footnote driven academic study.

Oscar Wilde : a certain genius, Barbara Belford. OScar Wilde was a dazzling conversationalist: once heard never forgotten. His life was the triumph of flippancy over genius, and sometimes the triumph of genius over flippancy. p. cm. eISBN: 978-0-307-79537-3. He needed a paradoxical nature to create his brilliant antithetical views on the English and the Irish, male and female, truth and artifice, good and evil-and himself. By writing about serious issues that are still relevant-the corrosive effects of power, the quest for status, and class pretensions-he sums up what is past, embodies what is passing, and intimates what is to come.

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On Wilde's centenary, Neil Bartlett revisits Oscar in Barbara Belford's A Certain Genius - and meets Wilde's niece in Joan Schenkar's Truly Wilde: The Unsettling Story of Dolly Wilde.

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In this elegant and affectionate biography of one of the most controversial personalities of the nineteenth century, Barbara Belford breaks new ground in the evocation of Oscar Wilde's personal life and in our understanding of the choices he made for his art. Published for the centenary of Wilde's death, here is a fresh, full-scale examination of the author of The Importance of Being Earnest and The Picture of Dorian Gray, a figure not only full of himself but enjoying life to the fullest.

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Published for the centenary of Wilde's death, here is a fresh, full-scale examination of the author of The Importance of Being Earnest and The Picture of Dorian Gray, a figure not only full of himself but enjoying life to the fullest.

In this elegant and affectionate biography of one of the most controversial personalities of the nineteenth century, Barbara Belford breaks new ground in the evocation of Oscar Wilde's personal life and in our understanding of the choices he made for his art. Published for the centenary of Wilde's death, here is a fresh, full-scale examination of the author of The Importance of Being Earnest and The Picture of Dorian Gray, a figure not only full of himself but enjoying life to the fullest.Based on extensive study of original sources and animated throughout by historical detail, anecdote, and insight, the narrative traces Wilde's progression from his childhood in an intellectual Irish household to his maturity as a London author to the years of his European exile. Here is Wilde the Oxford Aesthete becoming the talk of London, going off to tour America, lecturing on the craftsmanship of Cellini to the silver miners of Colorado, condemning the ugliness of cast-iron stoves to the ladies of Boston. Here is the domestic Wilde, building sandcastles with his sons, and the generous Wilde, underwriting the publication of poets, lending and spending with no thought of tomorrow. And here is the romantic Wilde, enthralled with Lord Alfred Douglas in an affair that thrived on laughter, smitten with Florence Balcombe, flirting with Violet Hunt, obsessed with Lillie Langtry, loving Constance, his wife.Vividly evoked are the theatres, clubs, restaurants, and haunts that Wilde made famous. More than previous accounts, Belford's biography evaluates Wilde's homosexuality as not just a private matter but one connected to the politics and culture of the 1890s. Wilde's timeless observations, which make him the most quoted playwright after Shakespeare, are seamlessly woven into the life, revealing a man of remarkable intellect, energy, and warmth.Too often portrayed as a tragic figure--persecuted, imprisoned, sent into exile, and shunned--Wilde emerges from this intuitive portrait as fully human and fallible, a man who, realizing that his creative years were behind him, committed himself to a life of sexual freedom, which he insisted was the privilege of every artist.Even now, we have yet to catch up with the man who exhibited some of the more distinguishing characteristics of the twentieth century's preoccupation with fame and zeal for self-advertisement. Wilde's personality shaped an era, and his popularity as a wit and a dramatist has never ebbed.

Comments: (7)

Cerekelv
Oscar Wilde was a complex and captivating fellow. Highly educated, even more intelligent, he wrote poetry, essays, dramatic and comedic plays, prose fiction, fairy tales, and it seems a good hunk of Bartlett's Quotations. He possessed "a certain genius" for observing and capturing with extraordinary literary talent the foibles of society. A giving, charitable man known for raking others over the coals in good humored fashion. Unfortunately for himself and for our desire for a lengthier, less incomplete literary career, he had immense flaws. Not the least of these was self-destructiveness, exhibited in his inability to shake off Bosie, his carelessness with his wife and sons, and a determined hedonism that would not wash in Victorian London. I don't know that any biographer can completely capture the enigma of Oscar. Belford does a good job of tying together his life, his relationships and his apparent sexuality with the themes of his literary output and his aphorisms. A good read of a fascinating life. Belongs on the same shelf with Ellman.
นℕĨĈტℝ₦
Informative and interesting. Well written
Gri
There are so many wonderful details about Oscar's life in this book that you just can't find anywhere else. Still, I want more, more about his family especially.
fetish
Fast for report
Madis
Barbara Belford's biography is well-illustrated and quotes its subject profusely, yet I came away with the feeling it tried to hard to prove a theory of Wilde rather than to explore him. The author discusses her reservations about Ellmann's biography of Wilde, and complains in her foreword that recent biographies have "take[n] specialist views: ... the Irish Wilde, the gay Wilde..." Yet she does exactly that, and seems to want to make up for Ellman's "reticence" in discussing Wilde's sexuality by placing it at instead the center of this work. As if Ellmann's Wilde was perhaps not gay enough for some, Belford's is overwhelmingly so; this has the (unintended?) effect of minimizing the importance of Wilde's wife Constance and his children. Wilde's homosexual passions are cast as the sole source of his inspiration, and it is suggested that he wanted to assert his right to live as he chose. In fact, the opposite appears true. By prosecuting Queensberry, Wilde was in essence asserting his right to stay legally and publicly in the closet. Once he had been forced in court to accept that Queensberry was "entitled to call him a posing sodomite", Wilde hardly seems to have accepted the title with enthusiasm or pride, as he himself makes clear in the opening of De Profundis.
Overall I'd say it was a pleasant enough read for those already familiar with its subject, but I would hesitate to recommend it to Wilde novices: the man was more complex than he is ultimately portrayed here, and one almost gets the impression the writer dislikes her subject. It leaves the taste of an exposé.
Dogrel
Ms. Bedford made no pretention to focusing upon a particular aspect of Oscar Wilde's life. Rather, she intended to offer a truly unbiased volume of carefully researched biographical information regarding Wilde and his societal surroundings. Many other readers have criticized the work for its seeming lack of spirit and depth. Ms. Bedford did not wish to offer such things, however. It is the duty of the reader to take the work and make one's own opinions regarding Wilde's life. Such a practice is rarely performed in modern times since the reading public are so very used to being told what to like - an attitude Wilde fought so much against. The volume meets the standard set by the author in the introduction, as well as the standards of biographies of its kind. It is, on the whole, a very good work.
Rgia
Since Ellmann's definitive biography of Oscar Wilde, no book on Wilde has been as meticuously researched and evenly reported as Barbara Belford's new work. From the moment I read her author's query in the New York Times Book Review a few years ago, I anticipated its publication, and was not disappointed.
I learned some new, anecdotal information from this book, even after my twenty-eight years of studying and collecting all that is Wilde. Those discoveries brought this reader much joy.
The only criticisms I have of this book are minor. Someone with a keener eye should have proofread the manuscript for awkward grammatical phrasings. Also there was a passion for Wilde missing in the author's voice that I, as a Wilde fanatic, wanted to hear. But it is to Belford's credit and background as a biographer that her tone is unbiased. I believe her work on Bram Stoker informed this biography and afforded the opportunity for unearthed details which give this book its verve and value.
I purchased it at a library sale, not from Amazon. What it covered was interesting; nonetheless, I found it lacking. I was left breathless by the failure to cover his activity in the Fabian Society and his friendship with Sydney and Beatrice Webb. To me, that aspect of his life was every bit as important as what the author covered. It is beyond belief that one can write a biography of Wilde without extensively addressing that aspect of his intellectual contributions.
Oscar Wilde: A Certain Genius download epub
Arts & Literature
Author: Barbara Belford
ISBN: 0679457348
Category: Biographies & Memoris
Subcategory: Arts & Literature
Language: English
Publisher: Random House; 1st edition (October 3, 2000)
Pages: 400 pages