Published by Primary Source Microfilm
Poet. Critic. Playwright. Novelist. Sensation. Artist. Oscar Wilde was all of these - and more.
Oscar Wilde once commented to Andre Gide that he had put his genius into his life and only his talent into his writings. Indeed, he remains popularly known through his sparkling aphorisms. His affair with Lord Alfred Douglas led to what many consider his martyrdom and rise as a gay icon.
Yet Wilde's genius is very much in evidence in the permanent contributions he made to English literature: The Importance of Being Earnest, The Picture of Dorian Gray, The Decay of Lying, The Soul of Man Under Socialism, Lady Windermere's Fan, A Woman of No Importance, and De Profundis, in which he offered this honest assessment of the complex relationship between his life and work:
"The gods had given me almost everything. I had a genius, a distinguished name, high social position, brilliancy, intellectual daring....I treated art as the supreme reality and life as a mere mode of fiction...But I let myself be lured into long spells of senseless and sensual ease...Tired of being on the heights, I deliberately went to the depths in search for new sensations."
Now Wilde the man and Wilde the artist can be studied together as never before. Filmed from the holdings of the University of California, Los Angeles's William Andrews Clark Memorial Library, this collection contains:
- Literary manuscripts and typescripts of poems and plays including unpublished poems, personal and lecture notes and drafts of works including The Picture of Dorian Gray
- First and rare editions of Wilde's work in English including The Ballad of Reading Gaol; De Profundis; and many others
- Autograph correspondence of Wilde and the Wilde family including his wife Constance, his mother Jane and his sister-in-law Lilly