Oscar Wilde; literary genius or a worthless degenerate!

Von Ranke

Ad Honorem
Nov 2011
6,377
Thistleland
This thread is inspired By Gile na Gile's blog on Oscar which I thoroughly recommend you all give the once over. The basic question he raises is should the artist be judged on his work or his personal morality. To put this in context how many so called masterpieces in art do we drool over without knowing the human failings of the artist? Let's face it how much do we know about Shakespeare's private life, but most right thinking lovers of literature recognise his genius. So Oscar was a poof and preferred " feasting with panthers " to his missus, but as far as I am concerned he had the ability to savage the upper classes in a one liner, no mean feat. As Shakespeare pointed out :

"Use every man after his deserts, and who shall escape whipping?"

In other words no man, or woman is perfect so as historians why do we appear to FAWN over psychopaths like nearly every Roman Emperor who happily slaughtered their way to power while at the same time picking holes on sinners like Oscar Wilde who as far as I know never killed anyone.
Your thoughts on this are more than welcome.
 
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Louise C

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Jan 2011
7,239
Southeast England
I wasn't aware that Roman Emperors were sanctified. Who sanctified them? A lot of Roman emperors come in for a lot of criticism I think And as for Oscar Wilde - he's adulated by a lot of people I think, he's considered a sort of gay martyr I think because he did two years hard labour for homosexuality.
 

Von Ranke

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Nov 2011
6,377
Thistleland
I wasn't aware that Roman Emperors were sanctified. Who sanctified them? A lot of Roman emperors come in for a lot of criticism I think And as for Oscar Wilde - he's adulated by a lot of people I think, he's considered a sort of gay martyr I think because he did two years hard labour for homosexuality.
Bad terminology on my part Louise and the metaphorical kick in the ass by your good self is well merited. :D
 
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Louise C

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Jan 2011
7,239
Southeast England
I suppose knowing the details of someone's personal life does affect how you feel about them a bit, especially if something really weird has gone on. Like one of my favourite authors as a child was William Mayne, then some years ago it was revealed that he had sexually abused a lot of little girls in the 60s - he would get to know them through their fondness for his books then invite them to his home. Had it ever occured to me to write to him about his books I might have been one of them. Although I still like his books, it does somewhat influence how I feel about him.
 

Robert165

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Jan 2010
4,266
North Georgia
Oscar Wilde was 37 and had sex with someone who was 21 and someone who was 19. How is that a problem?
 

Von Ranke

Ad Honorem
Nov 2011
6,377
Thistleland
I suppose knowing the details of someone's personal life does affect how you feel about them a bit, especially if something really weird has gone on. Like one of my favourite authors as a child was William Mayne, then some years ago it was revealed that he had sexually abused a lot of little girls in the 60s - he would get to know them through their fondness for his books then invite them to his home. Had it ever occured to me to write to him about his books I might have been one of them. Although I still like his books, it does somewhat influence how I feel about him.
That is the type of response I was looking for I mean clearly no one in this planet with any love of kids would give a paedo the time of day but was Oscar a child molester? We know that he frequented the haunts of "rent boys" but a certain singer songwriter who is pretty good on the piano and wears big glasses is apparently guilty of the same thing. He was the star attraction at the funeral of a Princess but no one seemed to crucify him on the altar of morality. Though Oscar belonged to a different era in which being gay was anathema why should he be judged any differently from todays superstars?
 

Louise C

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Jan 2011
7,239
Southeast England
Because the Marquis of Queensberry said it was.
I think some of the telegraph boys who Wilde was involved with were younger than that.

at any rate, he appeared determined to martyr himself. His friends begged him to get out of the country, go somewhere like France where homosexuality wasn't illegal, but he refused to budge.
 
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