Monday, August 20, 2012

The Complete Works of Oscar Wilde

I just completed Harper Perennial's edition of the complete works of Oscar Wilde. The book contains an introduction by Vyvyan Holland, Wilde's son.

A number of critics have dissected and studied Wilde's works. The Picture of Dorian Gray is a masterpiece, and so are The Importance of Being Earnest and Wilde's short stories. The rest of his theater and his poems are OK, but nothing extraordinary. His essays on art and aesthetics require a very high knowledge on the topic; they are not designed for the general public. His essay on The Soul of Man Under Socialism is partly right when it says that Socialism deserves a chance if it makes individualism the core of its action plan -it didn't, in case you were wondering.

This edition also contains De Profundis, the poem that Wilde wrote during his time in prison his lover Lord Alfred Douglas (as usual, Wikipedia contains an excellent summary of the Wilde-Douglas love affair). De Profundis is one of the most intimate and touching texts I've ever read. If I had to recommend this book based on a hidden pearl few people know about, De Profundis would be it.

1 comment:

  1. I have to agree with the final recommendation, De Profundis is clear and enlightning evidence of the complex personality of Oscar Wilde. A moving text that is a must read to anyone interested in the author.