Adonis Diaries

Either you raise the curtain or I shall leave. (Oscar Wilde)

Posted on: October 16, 2008

Either you raise the curtain or I shall leave.  (Written on December 7, 2007)

I do not know the exact pronouncement or at what stage of dying Oscar Wilde said his final sentence “If the curtain does not rise then I shall leave”, but I recently read a survey promoting Wilde as the funniest among the witty British.

The second funny guy has said “You wouldn’t listen to me.  I told you that I was sick”.  Oscar died in a poor hotel of Paris, surrounded with a couple of younger friends and a young Irish Catholic priest because Wilde was considering joining the Catholic church after lambasting the Popes and the clergy most of his life.

I had to write this article because I made it a habit to compose a couple of articles on the main topics for every controversial manuscript that I reviewed.  The manuscript that I reviewed on the active life of Oscar Wilde was “The God of mirrors” by Robert Reilly.  Reilly said:

“The many biographers have given the facts, but they left out the feelings.”  Well, the book was not that controversial, but the main character Oscar Wilde was, and Victorian society was even more controversial.

Homosexuality was preponderant among all social strata in the late 19th century, but “examples” (punishment) were administered to a few targeted personalities in order to preserve the public image of the conservative system.

The pronouncement of Wilde was not lighthearted and spontaneous; rather I believe that he worked it out for many years and was the result of many conversations with Sarah Bernhard of how the audience raises the actors and playwrights on the highest pedestal, close to the Gods, in order to compensate for their mediocrity.  I would even suggest that Wilde was thankful that his prolonged sickness permitted him to say his final words.

Oscar Wilde was a trend setter in fashion. For example, at the age of 29, Wilde was slender and handsome in a coat of emerald velvet, trousers tight, rich brown Russian leather boots, and pink cheeks. He was already famous at a young age for his poetry books literary critics and for his witticism in the social circles.

Wilde craved audiences and eagerly attended the parties that his youthful fans used to throw in his honor after his successful plays. Oscar loved luxury and beauty and spent a fortune on Champagne  caviar and dined in the best restaurants and hotels.

Although he was married and had two boys, Wilde was fundamentally a homosexual and he privilege the blonde handsome youths, carefree and not that sensible; he would not discriminate on their social status as long as they exhibited wild and spontaneous love for life and luxury.

Wilde was generous with his young lovers to an extreme: he lavishly expended time, money and attention and encouraged his fans anyway possible.  Even the rascals that blackmailed him were aided to better their conditions. Wilde was the precursor of the crazy years after the First World War when people tended to liberate from societies conventions, like Scot Fitzgerald.

            Unfortunately, he fell in love head over toe with a totally undeserving young, aristocratic, and rich man who was already rotten to the core before Wilde was introduced to him.  Oscar went to jail because of his lover Alfred who fled to Italy during Oscar’s two years jail term with hard labor.  Oscar was indicted on two counts of indecent exposure with under aged boys of twenty years old.

After his release, Oscar was completely broke because Alfred mother had promised to cover the cost of the trial but reneged on the promise.  Oscar relied on his wife’s alimony, now living in Switzerland with her two boys. Alfred begged to rejoin Oscar and then got angry and jealous of Oscar because he was not successful in publishing anything of his own poetry.  The mediocre Alfred kept lambasting Oscar for growing old, fat, and humorless.

I might as well include a few witty sayings, believing that Wilde didn’t attach much philosophical truths or moral positions in them; he just liked arts and to write poetry even in prose. For example:

“Lady Effingham was quite altered by her husband’s death.  She looked twenty years younger.  In fact her hair has turned quite gold from grief.”

“In married life, three’s company, two’s a crowd.”

“I like to carry my diary when I travel; one should always have something sensational to read in the train.”

 “Ignorance is like an exotic fruit; touch it and the bloom is gone.”

 “Novels that end happily, invariably leave one feeling depressed.”

 “If one tells the truth, one is sure, sooner or later, to be found out.”

 “Wickedness is a myth invented by good people to account for the curious attractiveness of others.”

“The realization of oneself is the prime aim of life; realizing this aim through pleasure is finer than to do so through pain.”

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October 2008

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