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Publisher's Summary

Oscar Wilde’s life - like his wit - was alive with paradox. He was both an early exponent and a victim of ‘celebrity culture’: famous for being famous, he was lauded and ridiculed in equal measure. His achievements were frequently downplayed, his successes resented. 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. 

Yet despite this ruinous end, Wilde’s star continues to shine brightly. His was a life of quite extraordinary drama. Above all, his flamboyant refusal to conform to the social and sexual orthodoxies of his day make him a hero and an inspiration to all who seek to challenge convention. 

In the first major biography of Oscar Wilde in 30 years, Matthew Sturgis draws on a wealth of new material and fresh research to place the man firmly in the context of his times. He brings alive the distinctive mood and characters of the fin de siècle in the richest and most compelling portrait of Wilde to date. 

©2018 Head of Zeus (P)2018 Head of Zeus

Critic Reviews

"Simply the best modern biography of Wilde.... A terrific achievement." (Evening Standard

"Page-turning...vivid and desperately moving. However much you think you know Wilde, this book will absorb and entertain you." (The Sunday Times)

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"Biographers, the body snatchers of literature".

Oscar Wilde said the above as he disliked biographers and their work. This book demonstrates why and was agony to listen to. Though the performance was competent, the book was a robotic chronicle of one damn thing after another with nary a pause for insight, reflection, or commentary. Curiously, this was the stated approach, goal, and purpose of the author. Well, he succeeded in spades.
All is not lost, however: do yourself a favor and read Richard Ellman's 1987 biography 'Oscar Wilde'. Though flawed, it is superbly empathetic and perceptive. It is literary biography with much insight and analysis's into the personality and work of the Great Anglo-Irish poet.

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Broadening My Horizons

Definitive and complete- this was indeed a surprise and treat- well worth the 36+ plus hours- the narrator’s French and English accent added to the “authenticity”-Oscar Wilde’s reputation and notoriety is well deserved and appreciated.

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Solid overview.

A great way to get to know a wonderful author. recommend to anyone wanting to know Oscar a little better.

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Sensational.

Sturgis' fastidious and energetic writing coupled with Davies' excellent narration make this book worth it.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 09-16-20

great story about a great man

lovely biography chronicling one of great personalities in the world of literature, enjoyed the narration, made it easy to follow. Very well written and researched.

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  • Scott
  • 06-16-20

How to make Oscar boring

An extraordinary story, the rise and fall, works and loves of Oscar. How can a biographer fail? Retold here, it is much less interesting - and lacking the tension and drama of Oscar's life - in every way than Richard Ellmann's stunning and exciting achievement. Sadly, Ellmann's biography of Wilde is not (yet) on audible, so make do with this poor - and waffly - substitute. How, for example, can a biograpger possibly not mention Wilde's children?