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Oscar Wilde Hardcover – Feb 1988


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 680 pages
  • Publisher: Alfred a Knopf (Feb. 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394554841
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394554846
  • Product Dimensions: 3.8 x 17.1 x 24.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 347,257 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Sometimes Things Get Whatever on 3 Oct. 2004
Format: Paperback
This book is wonderful, in every aspect; one that genuinely deserves its 5 star rating. Ellmann has written a biography that must make other biographers jealous, as I've never read one that comes close to this in terms of depth, honesty and breadth of knowledge. I've been reading Wilde for years and thought I knew a lot about him; yet there are details in here about his life that I knew nothing about. It's like discovering Oscar Wilde all over again.
One of the things that makes this book so powerful is the tremendous feeling of empathy you get for Wilde from Ellmann. Reading the tragic episodes that constitiuted Wilde's life and death is often painful, especially towards the end.
But it's not all about the life that most people remember him for these days - sometimes we forget that Oscar had a successful career as a journalist and lecturer on both sides of the Atlantic, and learning about his days at Oxford, to his American tour, to his fame in London with his social life is an absolute pleasure. Understanding his notoriety and reputation of this period, and how he enjoyed it and played with the press, is wonderful.
If you would like to discover or rediscover a truly great man, then I urge you to read this book.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 20 Nov. 1999
Format: Paperback
The scope, breadth, and insight of this book are extraordinary. This is 180 degrees from the masses of shallow, flashy celebrity biographies. This book is hardly a quick read -Ellmann explores every facet of his subject with amazing depth- and the result is a sometimes hilarious, sometimes sad book. --Suky
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 23 Oct. 2000
Format: Paperback
Of all the books written on Oscar Wilde, this is the only work that matches the genius and generosity of the subject. This book works in many layers and is sometimes overwhelming in its breadth. You may find that it will spoil your appetite for other biographies you may read in the future - for it will take a lot to come close to the bar set by Professor Ellmann.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mr. B. P. Van-asten on 14 Aug. 2013
Format: Paperback
Richard Ellman (1918-1987) is one of the great writers of biographical literature and this fantastic account of the life of Oscar Wilde, published in 1987 is a monumental achievement which has become a classic of the art form. Ellman's enthusiasm and scholarship injects real interest and empathy for his subject which truly connects with the reader and leaves them quite astounded. We are presented with the great man, warts and all...
Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde (1854-1900) studied at Trinity College, Dublin before attending Magdalen College, Oxford. He won the Newdigate Prize with his poem `Ravenna' in 1878 and became a disciple of the `Art for Art's sake aesthetic movement headed by Walter Pater (1839-1894). His first volume of `Poems' was published in 1881 and the following year he went on a lecture tour of the United States. Wilde's carefully crafted plays: `Lady Windermere's Fan' (1892), `A Woman of no Importance' (1893), `An Ideal Husband' (1895) and his masterful `The Importance of being Ernest' (1895) highlight the social hypocrisy of his time in the form of comedy and witty epigrams. His only novel `The Picture of Dorian Gray' (1890) is a modern take on the Faust legend. It seemed he could do no wrong and he was applauded and lionised wherever he went. But his star would fall back to earth with tragic consequences. Wilde fell in love with the son of the ruffian and scoundrel the Marquess of Queensberry, a handsome young man named Lord Alfred Douglas (`Bosie' as he became affectionately known by Wilde). In my view, `Bosie' is a despicable thug and the second most hated man in literature, the first being of course that damned brute from Porlock who interrupted Coleridge's composition of Kubla Khan!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Andreas Stavros on 26 July 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As someone who loves biographies and has read dozens of them, I can say - hand on heart - that this is the best I've ever read.

Who knows how intimidating it must be to look up at a mountain the size of Wilde, knowing that whatever you write has to do the subject justice? Whatever the case, Ellmann reached the summit. This is an immensely moving, intimate, intricate read, full of enthralling facts and detail, and beautifully written.

If you've the remotest interest in Wilde, READ THIS BOOK. It will surely be forever regarded as the definitive over-view of Wilde's life.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By inch worm on 2 Dec. 2009
Format: Paperback
A thoroughly enjoyable biography about this great and extraordinary personality. Packed full of interesting facts as well as photographs this is a full resume of a life that still has resonance for the present day. Not only is this an informative reference book but the easy style makes it a thoroughly good and satisfying read. Certainly a book to re-read in the knowledge that there will still probably be new things to discover, so rich is the content.
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