Matthew Sturgis draws on a wealth of new material and fresh research to place Oscar Wilde firmly in the context of his times.
Oscar Wilde’s life – like his wit – was alive with paradox. He had a genius for comedy but strove to write tragedies. He was an unabashed snob who nevertheless delighted in exposing the faults of society. He affected a dandified disdain but was prone to great acts of kindness. Although happily married, he became a passionate lover of men and – at the very peak of his success – brought disaster upon himself. He disparaged authority, yet went to the law to defend his love for Lord Alfred Douglas. Having delighted in fashionable throngs, Wilde died almost alone: barely a dozen people were at his graveside.
Matthew Sturgis brings alive the distinctive mood and characters of the fin de siècle in this rich and compelling portrait of Wilde, whose star continues to shine brightly despite his ruinous end. His was a life of quite extraordinary drama.