“Compelling Reading”

The New Criterion has published a joint review by Carl Rollyson of Oscar’s Ghost and Nicholas Frankel’s Oscar Wilde: The Unrepentant Years.

“Frankel’s Wilde is resilient and defiant—and also wily,” Rollyson writes of Frankel’s biography, which recasts the playwright’s final years in a less tragic light than most Wilde biographies.

I agree with Frankel’s view that prison did not end Wilde’s literary career, that he came out of prison optimistic about his future, that he only separated from Lord Alfred Douglas due to insurmountable pressure, and that Douglas remained a factor in Wilde’s life until his death.

This leads nicely into the battle that followed, and is why so many reviewers have featured our books together.

On Oscar’s Ghost, Rollyson writes: “Laura Lee’s Oscar’s Ghost provides a variation on biography as retrospective: biography is not just a matter of looking back at a life, but instead a question of how the sources of that life are assembled for posterity…The back and forth of the lawsuits, mainly a result of Douglas’s relentless persecution of Ross, makes for compelling reading in Lee’s book.”

 

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