Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Oscar Wilde

Tidbits and notes posted on FB and Twitter. Part 190

Note: I take notes of books I read and comment on events and edit sentences that fit my style. I pa attention to researched documentaries and serious links I receive. The page is long and growing like crazy, and the sections I post contains a month-old events that are worth refreshing your memory.

If Timor Lank had not vanquished the Turkish army in 1400, then the Byzantium Capital of Constantinople would have fallen 50 years earlier, along with most of Europe. There would have been no Renaissance

In 1400, the enmities between Genoa and Venice was at its zenith, the Kingdom of Poland was weak, there was no Russian Empire, and the King Henry of Portugal had not begun challenging the high seas to discover new routes to India and the Far East. There would be no Western Europe or the Renaissance if the Ottoman army was Not completely defeated by Timorlane.

And the King of France Charles 8 would not have entered and ruined Rome and displaced the skilled artisans and thinkers, all located and concentrated in Papal Rome, dispersing them to all over western Europe that started the Renaissance.

Robert Reilly said about the puritanical trials of the homosexuals in Britain: “The many biographers have given the facts, but they left out the feelings.”

Oscar Wilde told his wife Frances: “Shall I ever conquer that harsh and golden city?  I have produced nothing in over a year except Cyril (his son).  I have done nothing since my marriage. Perhaps I am too happy to work

Oscar went on: “Between them, Shakespeare and Balzac, they have said everything worth saying. I am a little closer to my lifelong ambition to be the first well-dressed philosopher in the history of thought

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.” (Oscar Wilde)

“In married life, three’s a 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.”

Ta ghayyaret awlawiyaat Tellerson: wousoulaho al Khamees moush nahar al daynounet. Israel ma 3aadat 3askariyyan mouhemat kharijiyyan lel USA, aflasat. Israel mouhemat daakhiliyyan fi USA lal

Shou bye3neh Netaniyaho: Ma bte3nina al tas3eed? USA jabreto wa tole3 bi swaad al wajeh?

Waa7ed F16? Israel 3enda kteer minha. Laken kasser sourataha (edrob wa ohrob) 3ind al Israili wa Saudi Kingdom ma btet3awad

Is Everything you hear in films a Lie?

Sound is a language. It can trick us by transporting us geographically; it can change the mood; it can set the pace; it can make us laugh or it can make us scared.

Sound design is built on deception –– when you watch a movie or TV show, nearly all of the sounds you hear are fake.

Tasos Frantzolas explores the role of sound in storytelling and demonstrates just how easily our brains are fooled by what we hear.

This talk was presented to a local audience at TEDxAthens, an independent event. TED editors featured it among our selections on the home page.

Tasos Frantzolas · Entrepreneur. lives and creates at the intersection of audio and technology.

Why Writers Are the Worst Procrastinators

The psychological origins of waiting (… and waiting, and waiting) to work.
Lots of people procrastinate but for writers it is a peculiarly common occupational hazard.
“Fixed mind-set,” people versus  “growth mind-set” who thrive on challenges because they would learn something they had no talent in.
A good read.
 posted this FEB 12 2014

Like most writers, I am an inveterate procrastinator.

In the course of writing this one article, I have checked my e-mail approximately 3,000 times, made and discarded multiple grocery lists, conducted a lengthy Twitter battle over whether the gold standard is actually the worst economic policy ever proposed, written Facebook messages to schoolmates I haven’t seen in at least a decade, invented a delicious new recipe for chocolate berry protein smoothies, and googled my own name several times to make sure that I have at least once written something that someone would actually want to read.

Wikimedia Commons

One book editor I talked to fondly reminisced about the first book she was assigned to work on, back in the late 1990s. It had gone under contract in 1972.

I once asked a talented and fairly famous colleague how he managed to regularly produce such highly regarded 8,000 word features.

“Well,” he said, “first, I put it off for two or three weeks. Then I sit down to write. That’s when I get up and go clean the garage. After that, I go upstairs, and then I come back downstairs and complain to my wife for a couple of hours. Finally, but only after a couple more days have passed and I’m really freaking out about missing my deadline, I ultimately sit down and write.”

Over the years, I developed a theory about why writers are such procrastinators: We were too good in English class. This sounds crazy, but hear me out.

Most writers were the kids who easily, almost automatically, got A’s in English class. (There are exceptions, but they often also seem to be exceptions to the general writing habit of putting off writing as long as possible.)

At an early age, when grammar school teachers were struggling to inculcate the lesson that effort was the main key to success in school, these future scribblers gave the obvious lie to this assertion.

Where others read haltingly, they were plowing two grades ahead in the reading workbooks. These are the kids who turned in a completed YA novel for their fifth-grade project.

It isn’t that they never failed, but at a very early age, they didn’t have to fail much; their natural talents kept them at the head of the class.

This teaches a very bad, very false lesson: that success in work mostly depends on natural talent.

Unfortunately, when you are a professional writer, you are competing with all the other kids who were at the top of their English classes. Your stuff may not—indeed, probably won’t—be the best anymore.

If you’ve spent most of your life cruising ahead on natural ability, doing what came easily and quickly, every word you write becomes a test of just how much ability you have, every article a referendum on how good a writer you are.

As long as you have not written that article, that speech, that novel, it could still be good.

Before you take to the keys, you are Proust and Oscar Wilde and George Orwell all rolled up into one delicious package.

By the time you’re finished, you’re more like one of those 1940’s pulp hacks who strung hundred-page paragraphs together with semicolons because it was too much effort to figure out where the sentence should end.

The Fear of Turning In Nothing

Most writers manage to get by because, as the deadline creeps closer, their fears of turning in nothing eventually surpasses their fears of turning in something terrible.

But I’ve watched a surprising number of young journalists wreck, or nearly wreck, their careers by simply failing to hand in articles. These are all college graduates who can write in complete sentences, so it is not that they are lazy incompetents. Rather, they seem to be paralyzed by the prospect of writing something that isn’t very good.

“Exactly!” said Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck, when I floated this theory by her. One of the best-known experts in the psychology of motivation, Dweck has spent her career studying failure, and how people react to it.

As you might expect, failure isn’t all that popular an activity. And yet, as she discovered through her research, not everyone reacts to it by breaking out in hives. While many of the people she studied hated tasks that they didn’t do well, some people thrived under the challenge. They positively relished things they weren’t very good at—for precisely the reason that they should have: when they were failing, they were learning.

Dweck puzzled over what it was that made these people so different from their peers. It hit her one day as she was sitting in her office (then at Columbia), chewing over the results of the latest experiment with one of her graduate students: the people who dislike challenges think that talent is a fixed thing that you’re either born with or not. The people who relish them think that it’s something you can nourish by doing stuff you’re not good at.

There was this eureka moment,” says Dweck.

She now identifies the former group as people with a “fixed mind-set,” while the latter group has a “growth mind-set.”

Whether you are more fixed or more of a grower helps determine how you react to anything that tests your intellectual abilities.

For growth people, challenges are an opportunity to deepen their talents, but for “fixed” people, they are just a dipstick that measures how high your ability level is.

Finding out that you’re not as good as you thought is not an opportunity to improve; it’s a signal that you should maybe look into a less demanding career, like mopping floors.

This fear of being unmasked as the incompetent you “really” are is so common that it actually has a clinical name: impostor syndrome. A shocking number of successful people (particularly women), believe that they haven’t really earned their spots, and are at risk of being unmasked as frauds at any moment.

Many people deliberately seek out easy tests where they can shine, rather than tackling harder material that isn’t as comfortable.

If they’re forced into a challenge they don’t feel prepared for, they may even engage in what psychologists call “self-handicapping” behaviors: deliberately doing things that will hamper their performance in order to give themselves an excuse for not doing well.

Self-handicapping can be fairly spectacular: in one study, men deliberately chose performance-inhibiting drugs when facing a task they didn’t expect to do well on.

“Instead of studying,” writes the psychologist Edward Hirt, “a student goes to a movie the night before an exam. If he performs poorly, he can attribute his failure to a lack of studying rather than to a lack of ability or intelligence. On the other hand, if he does well on the exam, he may conclude that he has exceptional ability, because he was able to perform well without studying.”

Writers who don’t produce copy—or leave it so long that they couldn’t possibly produce something good—are giving themselves the perfect excuse for not succeeding.

“Work finally begins,” says Alain de Botton, “when the fear of doing nothing exceeds the fear of doing it badly.” For people with an extremely fixed mind-set, that tipping point quite often never happens. They fear nothing so much as finding out that they never had what it takes.

“The kids who race ahead in the readers without much supervision get praised for being smart,” says Dweck. “What are they learning? They’re learning that being smart is not about overcoming tough challenges. It’s about finding work easyWhen they get to college or graduate school and it starts being hard, they don’t necessarily know how to deal with that.”

Embracing Hard Work

Our educational system is almost designed to foster a fixed mind-set. Think about how a typical English class works: You read a “great work” by a famous author, discussing what the messages are, and how the author uses language, structure, and imagery to convey them.

You memorize particularly pithy quotes to be regurgitated on the exam, and perhaps later on second dates.

Students are rarely encouraged to peek at early drafts of those works. All they see is the final product, lovingly polished by both writer and editor to a very high shine. When the teacher asks “What is the author saying here?” no one ever suggests that the answer might be “He didn’t quite know” or “That sentence was part of a key scene in an earlier draft, and he forgot to take it out in revision.”

Or consider a science survey class. It consists almost entirely of the theories that turned out to be right—not the folks who believed in the mythical “N-rays,” declared that human beings had forty-eight chromosomes, or saw imaginary canals on Mars.

When we do read about falsified scientific theories of the past—Lamarckian evolution, phrenology, reproduction by “spontaneous generation”—the people who believed in them frequently come across as ludicrous yokels, even though many of them were distinguished scientists who made real contributions to their fields.

“You never see the mistakes, or the struggle,” says Dweck. No wonder students get the idea that being a good writer is defined by not writing bad stuff.

Unfortunately, in your own work, you are confronted with every clunky paragraph, every labored metaphor and unending story that refuses to come to a point.

“The reason we struggle with “insecurity,” says Pastor Steven Furtick, “is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.”

About six years ago, commentators started noticing a strange pattern of behavior among the young millennial who were pouring out of college. Eventually, the writer Ron Alsop would dub them the Trophy Kids. Despite the sound of it, this has nothing to do with “trophy wives.” Rather, it has to do with the way these kids were raised.

This new generation was brought up to believe that there should be no winners and no losers, no scrubs or MVPs. Everyone, no matter how ineptly they perform, gets a trophy.

As these kids have moved into the workforce, managers complain that new graduates expect the workplace to replicate the cosy, well-structured environment of school. They demand concrete, well-described tasks and constant feedback, as if they were still trying to figure out what was going to be on the exam.

“It’s very hard to give them negative feedback without crushing their egos,” one employer told Bruce Tulgan, the author of Not Everyone Gets a Trophy. “They walk in thinking they know more than they know.”

When I started asking around about this phenomenon, I was a bit skeptical. After all, us old geezers have been grousing about those young whippersnappers for centuries.

But whenever I brought the subject up, I got a torrent of complaints, including from people who  have been managing new hires for decades. They were able to compare them with previous classes, not just with some mental image of how great we all were at their age. And they insisted that something really has changed—something that’s not limited to the super-coddled children of the elite.

“I’ll hire someone who’s 27, and he’s fine,” says Todd, who manages a car rental operation in the Midwest. “But if I hire someone who’s twenty-three or twenty-four, they need everything spelled out for them, they want me to hover over their shoulder. It’s like somewhere in those three or four years, someone flipped a switch.”

They are probably harder working and more conscientious than my generation.  But many seem intensely uncomfortable with the comparatively unstructured world of work.  No wonder so many elite students go into finance and consulting—jobs that surround them with other elite grads, with well-structured reviews and advancement.

Today’s new graduates may be better credentialed than previous generations, and are often very hardworking, but only when given very explicit direction. And they seem to demand constant praise.

Is it any wonder, with so many adults hovering so closely over every aspect of their lives? Frantic parents of a certain socioeconomic level now give their kids the kind of intensive early grooming that used to be reserved for princelings or little Dalai Lamas.

All this “help” can be actively harmful. These days, I’m told, private schools in New York are (quietly, tactfully) trying to combat a minor epidemic of expensive tutors who do the kids’ work for them, something that would have been nearly unthinkable when I went through the system 20 years ago.

Our parents were in league with the teachers, not us. But these days, fewer seem willing to risk letting young Silas or Gertrude fail out of the Ivy League.

Thanks to decades of expansion, there are still enough spaces for basically every student who wants to go to college. But there’s a catch: Most of those new spaces were created at less selective schools. Two-thirds of Americans now attend a college that, for all intents and purposes, admits anyone who applies. Spots at the elite schools—the top 10 percent—have barely kept up with population growth.

Meanwhile demand for those slots has grown much faster, because as the economy has gotten more competitive, parents are looking for a guarantee that their children will be successful. A degree from an elite school is the closest thing they can think of.

So we get Whiffle Parenting: constant supervision to ensure that a kid can’t knock themselves off the ladder that is thought to lead, almost automatically, through a selective college and into the good life.

It’s an entirely rational reaction to an educational system in which the stakes are always rising, and any small misstep can knock you out of the race. But is this really good parenting?

A golden credential is no guarantee of success, and in the process of trying to secure one for their kids, parents are depriving them of what they really need: the ability to learn from their mistakes, to be knocked down and to pick themselves up—the ability, in other words, to fail gracefully.

That is probably the most important lesson our kids will learn at school, and instead many are being taught the opposite.


This post is adapted from Megan McArdle’s The Up Side of Down: Why Failing Well Is the Key to Success.

24 celebrities and their incredible look alikes from the past    December 29, 2013      

They say that everyone of us has at least one look alike in the world, and according to an old urban legend our double lives in the opposite part of the globe from where we are.

That legend may not be real, but if you think rationally there are some odds that, between all the people lived in the past, there was somebody that looked just like us.

That’s what this gallery is all about: there are celebrities that have look alikes coming directly from the past.

When we saw these photos we couldn’t help but stare at the incredible similarity between these celebs and their counterparts.

For example Justin Timberlake is almost identical to a guy lived in the 1800′s, Jay-Z had a perfect double living in Harlem in the 1860′s and Donald Trump really does look like the General George Patton.

Believe it or not, here are 24 celebrities and their incredible look alikes from the past.

If you like this post, don’t be selfish, share it with your friends on Facebook or Twitter.

1. Ellen DeGeneres and Henry David Thoreau

via au.lifestile.yahoo.com http://au.lifestyle.yahoo.com/who/galleries/photo/-/15928053/celeb-doppelgangers-from-centuries-old-portraits/

via au.lifestile.yahoo.com

2. Maggie Gyllenhaal and Rose Wilder Lane

via totallylookslike.com

3. Justin Timberlake and unknown man in a mug shot

via nydailynews.com http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/celebrities-old-time-look-alikes-gallery-1.1339785?pmSlide=1.1339781

via nydailynews.com

4. John Travolta and unknown man from the 1860′s

via nydailynews.com http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/celebrities-old-time-look-alikes-gallery-1.1339785?pmSlide=1.1340302

via nydailynews.com

5. General George Patton and Donald Trump

via lovelyish.com http://www.lovelyish.com/2012/02/22/gallery-historical-and-modern-celebrity-lookalikes/

via lovelyish.com

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6. General Douglas MacArthur and Bruce Willis

via businessinsider.com http://www.businessinsider.com/check-out-these-celebrities-and-their-ridiculous-historical-dopplegangers-2012-8

via businessinsider.com

7. Vincent Van Gogh and Chuck Norris

via totallylookslike.com

via totallylookslike.com

8. Jimmy Fallon and Turkish revolutionist Mahir Cayan

via totallylookslike.com

via totallylookslike.com

9. Paul Giamatti and William Shakespeare

via totallylookslike.com

via totallylookslike.com

10. Jack Black and the Barber of Seville

via totallylookslike.com

via totallylookslike.com

11. Nicholas Cage and man from the Civil War era

via nydailynews.com http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/celebrities-old-time-look-alikes-gallery-1.1339785?pmSlide=1.1344895

via nydailynews.com

12. Jay-Z and a unknown man from Harlem

via nydailynews.com http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/celebrities-old-time-look-alikes-gallery-1.1339785

via nydailynews.com

13. Jon Stewart and Henry Ward Beecher

via lovelyish.com http://www.lovelyish.com/2012/02/22/gallery-historical-and-modern-celebrity-lookalikes/

via lovelyish.com

14. Charlie Sheen and John Brown

via nydailynews.com http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/celebrities-old-time-look-alikes-gallery-1.1339785?pmSlide=1.1339776

via nydailynews.com

15. Alec Baldwin and Millard Fillmore

via nydailynews.com http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/celebrities-old-time-look-alikes-gallery-1.1339785?pmSlide=1.1339773

via nydailynews.com

16. Shia LaBeouf and Albert Einstein

via nydailynews.com http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/celebrities-old-time-look-alikes-gallery-1.1339785?pmSlide=1.1339783

via nydailynews.com

17. Keanu Reeves and Louis-Maurice Boutet de Monvet

via nydailynews.com http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/celebrities-old-time-look-alikes-gallery-1.1339785?pmSlide=1.1340303

via nydailynews.com

18. Hank Azaria and Rudolf Steiner

via totallylookslike.com

via totallylookslike.com

19. Jeffrey Tambor and Benjamin Franklin

via totallylookslike.com

via totallylookslike.com

20. Dustin Diamond and Joseph Pulitzer

via lovelyish.com http://www.badtvblog.com/2011/11/historical-celebrity-doppelgangers.html

via lovelyish.com

21. Hugh Grant and Oscar Wilde

via biography.com http://www.biography.com/people/groups/famous-lookalikes/photos

via biography.com

22. Glenn Close and George Washington

via nydailynews.com http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/celebrities-old-time-look-alikes-gallery-1.1339785?pmSlide=1.1339779

via nydailynews.com

23. Tommy Lee Jones and Andrew Johnson

celebrity-look-alikes-past-13

via biography.com

24. Rupert Grint and Sir David Wilkie

via au.lifestyle.yahoo.com http://au.lifestyle.yahoo.com/who/galleries/photo/-/15928053/celeb-doppelgangers-from-centuries-old-portraits/

via au.lifestyle.yahoo.com

Note: Not until the 20th century, most humankind were generated from incestuous relationships.

“The God of mirrors” by Robert Reilly (October 1st, 2007)

This novel is about the productive period in the life of Oscar Wilde and I decided to review it for the pleasure of quoting Wilde’s witty pronouncements and to point to the fact that homosexuality was common in 19th century England, a wildly permeating society.

But when such cases reached trial, the culprits were severely punished to uphold the puritanical culture of England.  Reilly said: “The many biographers have given the facts, but they left out the feelings.”

I might as well start with 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 and liked youth regardless of class standing as long as they were beautiful, carefree as long as they were not sensible. 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.”

At 29, Wilde was slender and handsome in his coat of emerald velvet, trousers tight, rich brown Russian leather boots, and pink cheeks.

He was married for two years and had a son Cyril.  He was visiting Frances Richards, a handsome artist and she was painting the portrait of the forlorn young, blond, and beautiful Somerset.  “How was the country?” said Somerset plaintively.  Wilde replied: “Full of strange colored things.  Flowers, I believe they’re called”.

Frances had known Oscar for 5 years when he was callow, brash, and a bit crude.  Frances said to Oscar: “You must be about thirty?”  Oscar replied: “I have scarce 28 summers.  I look older because I spent the entire morning removing a comma from a sentence” Somerset said: “And how did you spend the afternoon?” Oscar said: “Putting it back”

Just then a cloud passed from before the sun and lemon light danced down over them.  Oscar whispered: “The moment! It is our duty to grasp at life, to seek out startling experience, to ever be on the lookout for a new, a truly new sensation” The Irish Wilde acquired the essentially English voice with a purer strain. Oscar lighted a cigarette imported from Egypt and said: “It is only when I am deeply in debt that I can afford them” Turning to Somerset he said: “I suspect you must commit a great many sins.  It is the only way one ever keeps an air of innocence”

Robert Ross, a slender adolescent of seventeen and visiting from Canada, was peeking behind a door at Oscar.  “Frances, you are providing shelter for a ghost” said Oscar.  Robert Ross has read all of Oscar works, even the first edition of “Vera”.  Oscar said: “With my works it is not first editions that are rare, but second ones” Oscar was a great connoisseur of North America.  Somerset said to Oscar: “Did you really tell the reporters in New York that the Atlantic was a disappointment?”  Oscar retorted: “I never intended to ruin the reputation of this poor ocean.  It seems no one will receive it anymore.  The nearest I got to Canada was Buffalo.  There was some intolerable noisy body of water nearby.”  Ross said: “You saw Niagara!”  Oscar said: “American bride is brought there on her honeymoon.  Niagara is her first but not the keenest disappointment.  Niagara would be wonderful if the water didn’t fall”

Oscar told Frances: “Shall I ever conquer that harsh and golden city?  I have produced nothing in over a year except Cyril (his son).  I have done nothing since my marriage. Perhaps I am too happy to work” He went on: “Between them, Shakespeare and Balzac, they have said everything worth saying. I am a little closer to my lifelong ambition to be the first well-dressed philosopher in the history of thought” Oscar went on looking at the picture of Somerset: “Youth, what a precious thing.  I would do anything to retain my youth.  The Greek gods, being jealous of Somerset’s beauty, bestowed on him that fatal combination: a tongue that works too readily and a mind that works not at all.  His portrait will remain ever silent but forever young.”  Frances was telling Oscar: “I never know when you’re being serious.” And Oscar to say: “When I’m joking, of course.”

Ross followed Oscar in the park because he wanted to speak to him very badly.  Wilde told Ross: “Not only do you bribe Frances to spy on me but now you are trailing me through London like an avenging angel.  You are relentless Mr. Ross. You are incorrigible.  You are unscrupulous. I think we are going to be great friends.”  They talked about Frances and Wilde said: “Before Frances can become a true artist, she is going to have to learn the subtle, tortuous art of being shallow.”

Ross told Oscar that he intended to write to him a letter of admiration because he considers his poems masterpieces. Oscar replied: “I never answer letters. I know of bright prospects who came to London and wound up wrecks in a month, simply from answering letters.”  Oscar gave Ross a ride in a Gurney cab since omnibuses should be reserved for the rich because they can endure discomfort.

The fog fell on London and Wilde said: “Fog transforms our shabby city into a composition by Claude Monet.  Without fog and smoke London would be recognized as the most dreadful spectacle by man.  The whole art of living is to ignore ugliness and heighten beauty.”  Ross asked him: “What is the wages of the exquisite sins of yours?” and Wilde to answer: “The only sin is boredom. We must be on the lookout for new temptations”

When the coach arrived at Ross place he asked Oscar to come in for a minute which he did and then Ross kissed him on the mouth in the dark.  Oscar was taken aback and refused Ross advancement and Ross said: “You said you were looking for new temptations. I never felt hated before” Oscar felt pity for Robert’s pain and said: “We will forget this little incident.  There is lunch at the Café Royal any day you wish. My wife will understand my lateness and that is so much worse”.

Wilde would take Robert Ross on night tours to sections in London where policemen walked in pairs, past workhouses and coffee stalls, German beer shops, down dank alleys where every third house was a tavern with a name like the Black Cat or the Red Rat, filed with drunken men and women dancing round and round.  They drank strange concoctions and watched popular shows.  Once Ross experienced tomfoolery in his Cambridge school and his colleagues made him commit the unpardonable sin.

Oscar took Ross to Paris to appease his anxiety and they met Sara Bernhardt.  Sara had a black real jaguar in her palace and she was napping in a coffin.  Oscar adored Sara and when he reached the coffin he whispered: “Awake! For Morning in the Bowl of Night has flung the stone that puts the stars to flight”.  Sara had a collection of portraits of her painted by various artists and Oscar brought her Marguerites, the flower that Sara loved best but didn’t include in her garden. Sara said: “I lost the person most important to me in the entire world.  I lost myself and I am dead, Oscar” Wilde suggested that she find a new mask and fall in love.  Sara replied: “I am never out of love. Yet no one has loved me in return.  They just adore me.  In all my romances, there is always the sense of a curtain rising and falling. It is the same with you Oscar, you crave an audience”.

Oscar and his wife Constance visited a palm reader who predicted that Oscar will become famous and that he will also take an office job.  Shortly after, Oscar was offered the editorship of the “Lady’s World” and agreed on condition that the name of the magazine be changed to “Woman’s World” and his daily habits changed to a routine tempo, waking up late and coming home late. Constance thought that a regular job would transform Wilde and drive out of his head some of his excessive ideas about Art and Beauty.  Ross suggested a crime story where the palm reader predicted to a Gentleman that he would commit a murder.  In order to live a normal life, the Gentleman decided to kill the palm reader and get over with his anxiety.  Wilde story “Arthur Savile’s crime” was accepted by the “Court and Society Review”.

Constance shunned the many receptions and invitations that Wilde attended because he needed an audience all the time.  She stayed home and liked to design clothes and joined a religious sect that did charity in Africa.  After she gave birth to Vyvyan’s Oscar seemed utterly happy and he arranged to have a separate room in the attic to work at night. Oscar had “his genius to keep him company”. Then, one lady member introduced Constance to another sect that dabbed into occultism; she started to believe that magic is not vague, foolish mumbo jumbo but scientific and precise; that the body is only the house of the soul and it has to yield up its debt to the future.

MacGregor was the leader of the Golden Dawn sect.  Constance visited MacGregor at his office and told him: “I want to be able to love my husband”.  MacGregor replied: “That is simple enough.  If you want to love him then love him! He cannot stop you”.  Constance said: “He won’t let me”.   Macgregor replied: “I’m afraid what you really want is for him to love you. You want to control him; every Adept struggles with the temptation of coveting power over what one loves. In this order we do not work ‘magic’ to elevate the initiates beyond the petty considerations of everyday life” Then he told her in order to be initiated she will have to keep the secrets of the order and to swear total chastity.  Constance said: “I don’t think all your initiates are chaste”.  MacGregor guessed who Constance was referring to and said: “Miss Farr (a very beautiful girl) is a special case. Lovemaking for her is a form of self-mortification”.

Constance divulged to Oscar that chastity is required in the order and that if he has a tiny misgiving then she would not join the order. Wilde told her: “I dare not stand in your way.  I want you to fulfill yourself, my love.  A little chastity will be good for both of us“.

Constance was given tasks to do at home; she had to learn the Hebrew alphabet, the symbols of the Zodiac, the Tarot trumps, preparing a special corner in her house and setting on it salt in a dish, a triangle of black cardboard, a saucer of incense, and a rose, made a wand painting one tip black and the other white.  Constance was assigned experiments trying to make a handkerchief rise, hypnotize her cat, and walk out of her body. Wilde asked her to tell him all about what she is doing just to put this knowledge to the service of art.  He said: “A little hocus-pocus may help me with the novel I am trying to write”. The secret information were transformed and included in Wilde’s famous novel “Dorian Gray”.

Oscar and Ross were lovers for a long time until Oscar got a strong hit with his novel “Dorian Gray” about a picture portrait that disintegrate while Dorian remains young forever. Oscar had now many young followers or apostles but he is in love with a rich young guy of twenty one Lord Alfred Douglas, known as Bosie.  Bosie preferred not to have physical intercourses with Wilde in order to preserve their love which made Oscar to be constantly thinking of Bosie.  When his play “The fan of lady Windermere” became a success, Oscar invited Bosie for a special preview just for him and Bosie insisted on having physical intercourse though Oscar preferred not to.

Oscar invited both Ross and Bosie to attend a rehearsal of his French play “Salome” played by Sarah Bernhard in London. He told Ross: “Can you imagine what would happen if the English were to understand Salome in French?”  Afterward, Bosie told Wilde that his male servant made forceful advances and is blackmailing him.  The lawyer of Wilde, George Lewis, told Bosie to pay up the 100 pounds that the blackmailer asked because no mater what the outcome in court his name would be tainted forever and Wilde gave the lawyer the money to pay Bosie’s blackmailer.

A journalist from the Express asked Wilde: “It seems that your plays are about trivial people of the upper class people who are leading trivial lives.  Have you no interest in the drama of everyday existence?”  Wilde replied: “Everyday existence says very little to me. For example, if a journalist were to be run over that would not be of any dramatic significance.  Now, I am relying on you to misrepresent me

Oscar was utterly in love with Bosie even though he learned that Bosie was a rotten apple long before they met, even when Bosie slept with every young man that he liked, even when Bosie got him in endless trouble with blackmailers to retrieve the love letters he wrote to Bosie, even when Bosie relied on Oscar for his luxurious lifestyle, and even when Bosie’s father, the Marquess of Queensberry, went relentlessly after Oscar and sent him his card where he wrote: “Posing as a Sodomite”

Wilde sued the Marquess for libel and Oscar’s friends advised him to drop the case, go abroad and write a leter to the Times to that effect.  Wilde knew this was the wiser venue to drop the case, especially when he realized that the Marquess had built a substantial file that could damage the reputation of Wilde as a seducer of male youths.

However, Wilde let the case take its course thinking loudly: “There is something about the whole thing so perfect.  So beautifully crafted-like a superb play. Only, who is doing the crafting? Your father Bosie is but a character in the drama.  As I am.  As you are.  No, it is a work fashioned by a master artist.  Don’t you feel the hand of gods at work? Think of all they have granted me: A delightful, amusing life.  Money.  Success in my work.  Two adorable children.  My wife Connie and you.  The gods have given me so many triumphs.  Are they going to take it al back?”

The case went to trial and Oscar tried his humor and wit and wearing a carnation.  Soon, after a couple of cross examinations Wilde decided on the suggestion of his lawyer to drop the case.  The attorney general prosecuted Wilde and locked him for a month in jail awaiting trial on several charges of indecent behavior with youth half his age.  Oscar was allowed only one visitor per day and saw only Bosie when he showed up. The jury could not reach a decision and Wilde was set free pending a second trial.  No hotels permitted Wilde to set foot in and all his belongings were sold on auction to cover the cost of the trials; he ended up living with his mother who had moved to a smaller apartment.

Several people urged Oscar to flee to France but his mother refused and insisted that he take a stand as an Irish.  The second trial handed Oscar two years prison with hard labor; Bosie fled to Italy and never sent him a letter to prison. Wilde was to receive only two letters per month and the rest were to be accumulated until he is liberated; he selected Ross’ letters because he gave details on his family.

The first few months were nasty and Oscar was feeling excessively reduced as a human being until he was ordered to work on the garden and allowed to write and read.   His mother died in her sleep and Constance came to announce the news though Wilde had just dreamt of his mother in black.  Constance moved to Switzerland with the children. Oscar emerged slim, in good health, and athletic.

Ross meets Oscar at Berneval, a sea town near Dieppe in France. Oscar is living on allowances sent to him by his wife Constance and he writes to Constance to move to Switzerland but her replies are not warm.  Bosie writes to Wilde and wants to see him again.  Finally, Oscar succumbs and rejoins Bosie in Rouen and from there to Naples in Italy. They are living on the allowance of Bosie’s mother.  Wilde is writing a ballade titled “Ballade of Reading Gaol”, the prison where he spent his term, and is assured to be published.  Bosie resents Oscar because he is not capable of producing poems that are publishable and Bosie leaves to London.  Oscar moves to Paris and roam the streets; Constance allowances arrive on time but they are not sufficient to sustain Wilde’s luxurious tastes for good food in expensive restaurants and Champaign.

Constance dies under a back operation after she was paralyzed.  Wilde visits his wife’s tomb in Genoa and her stone reads Constance Mary Lloyd and Oscar weeps harsh thick tears because had not yet begun to live, had never a chance to learn what life was and she had been cheated. By life and by him!  Oscar visit Sara Bernhardt in Nice and they lament growing old, ruined clowns “the audience raising them high and then casting them down. The actors are the glory and the shame of the average individuals”

Bosie inherited 15,000 pounds from his father and moved to Paris.  Oscar was going through the miseries of being penniless and asked Bosie that his family owe him a debt of honor because Lady Queensberry had promised to cover the expenses of the trials; the money you inherited is mine.  Bosie got furious and left the restaurant.

Oscar was seeing a young Irish Catholic priest in Paris for conversion. While he was dying he told Ross “When the trumpets blast in the judgment day I will turn to you and say: “Robbie dearest, let’s pretend we do not hear”” Wilde died a Catholic in a poor hotel room surrounded by Ross and the priest.

Oscar Wilde was barely over 50. The book never mentioned what Oscar said before he died “Either the curtain opens or I shall leave!”

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.”


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

October 2020
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