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35 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Art of Socialism
Forget all the things which are commonly labelled socialist for a moment and consider why or what its appeal could possibly be and you are unlikely to come up with anything much different from what Oscar Wilde does in this brilliant, over looked, small book.

Wilde waxes lyrical on what he believes could be the result of a permanent relief of poverty, similar to...
Published on 22 Dec. 2008 by Lark

versus
2.0 out of 5 stars Don't Get Confused
Tripping out on "beauty" will lead to the spontaneous relinquishment of all private property? Colour me sceptical. History, since Wilde, has shown us, in flood after flood of innocent blood, that the soul of man under socialism is crushed. Beauty is what the socialist state says it is. Socialists worship the power of the state and, in the context of the real...
Published 1 month ago by Daniel S. Thompson


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35 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Art of Socialism, 22 Dec. 2008
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Lark (North Coast of Ireland) - See all my reviews
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Forget all the things which are commonly labelled socialist for a moment and consider why or what its appeal could possibly be and you are unlikely to come up with anything much different from what Oscar Wilde does in this brilliant, over looked, small book.

Wilde waxes lyrical on what he believes could be the result of a permanent relief of poverty, similar to William Morris, here is an uplifting account of a world of improved social obligations. Reasoning that a world without the sorts of obligations compelled by sympathy for others in chronic states of want or poverty would be one where a more profound, convivial, civilised and altogether more honest individualism prevails.

Entirely removed from concrete proposals for policy, personal choices or practices this account has a certain sort of timelessness and doesnt appear arcane, antiquated or dated like a lot of socialist books. It certainly is the ideology at its most romantic, smiley and would appeal to any post-eighties reader who's a libertarian, or even libertine, at heart.

I would recommend this to all readers, politically interested and not so politically interested alike, to anyone more or less hostile towards much maligned and misunderstood (not least by its dearest supporters) socialism. It is a story of sorts and it has more literary than political merit, infact it is to contemporary politics what Jules Verne is to contemporary world travellers, cavers or submariners.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best hour of your life, 13 Dec. 2012
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jim (LONDON, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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Just. Read. It. Very short, profoundly enlightening and of course beautifully written, a wonderful book. Do not think for a second though that this is a political book, it looks at socialism through a moral filter as opposed to an economic one, but if anything this simply furthers the book's unique nature.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Soul of Man, 11 Dec. 2012
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L. E. Bosch "Leon" (Tring. UK) - See all my reviews
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Oscar Wilde reminds us with absolute clarity, what it ought to mean to be truly human.
The passage of time since then has regrettably taken us even further away from this noble aspiration. How easily we allow ourselves to be waylaid. This really ought to be compulsory reading!!
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2.0 out of 5 stars Don't Get Confused, 17 Feb. 2015
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Daniel S. Thompson "legal nurse" (Santa Cruz, CA USA) - See all my reviews
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Tripping out on "beauty" will lead to the spontaneous relinquishment of all private property? Colour me sceptical. History, since Wilde, has shown us, in flood after flood of innocent blood, that the soul of man under socialism is crushed. Beauty is what the socialist state says it is. Socialists worship the power of the state and, in the context of the real world, socialism means the state exercising a monopoly on violence to claim ownership of "it's" citizens - body, mind and soul. It is the crushing of, and the erasing of the memory of, all human rights. Socialism is either a childlike, ahistorical dream of sharing and caring, like Wildes, or a colossal lie, a fig leaf and rationalization for utterly brutal totalitarian people-farming - as with Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Pol Pot...

I like Wilde. But wit, and beauty and other special effects are not enough. We need individual freedom, dignity, and responsibility. We need to restore the rights of free expression, free association, self-defense, property, trade and trial-by-jury, and prune the rapacious, ever-growing, deadly-thorned bureaucracy of the state back to the roots. Simply put, we are all under attack by a globalist fascism that, like Hitler's facism, is using the utopian, redistributionist rhetoric of "socialism" to co-opt (and, where strategic, foment) popular revolution. In this context, tripping out on "The Soul of Man Under Socialism" may provide some escape and solace. But don't get confused.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing, 13 Sept. 2012
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This has to be one of the most thought provoking and inspirational works around. Genius is thrown around too often these days but look for it in Oscar Wilde's work and you will not be disappointed. A simple, eloquent and stimulating read (short too), that i find myself re-reading and thinking about a year down the line. Go get it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great read and very informative, 5 Mar. 2015
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A great short essay outlining the benefits of socialism to the arts and eradicating poverty. Very thought provoking and definitely recommended for anyone interested in socialism or wanting to embrace a different perspective on politics.
Wilde dispels the myth that socialism has to be authoritarian and in doing so shows that socialism does not need to be harsh and brutual, as many think a socialist state would be, and can be a legitimate alternative to other political ideologies in today's society.
Would highly recommend.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Utopian socialism, 28 Mar. 2014
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Partisan (West Yorkshire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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Interesting to read with our knowledge of the reality of "socialism", although the Socialism that Wilde talks about is not something that ever has been or ever will be a reality - truly utopian.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable stuff., 27 Aug. 2012
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What a strange read this was.

I really enjoyed reading this and am very much intrigued by Wilde and his mind.
This book contained, for me, some fascinating insights into that mind.

However, as a recent convert to the cause of "socialism," given what we've just gone through via the last few elections, particularly the most recent one, where the "radical," party I've admired and voted for, for over 30 years sold its soul down the river and has probably ensured its total destruction, I'm not sure that this gave me much of an insight into socialism itself.

Wilde seems to spend the greater part of the work banging on about what he considers to be "Art," in its truest and purest form and what is not.
Again, fascinating though this was, it didn't seem all that relevant to me.

However, I'd recommend this as a read.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Aesthetic socialism., 20 April 2013
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The clue is in the title really, The Soul of Man under Socialism considers the state of affairs we need to establish in order to attain for each of us to achieve their aesthetic potential. This is not a socialism inspired by the need to break down the class barrier between rich and poor, nor to enfranchise the disenfranchised; its motivation is that we each be capable of entertaining beauty on an individual level, and that requires the advancement of society and science to the extent that they abolish the causes of material suffering, namely, private property and ownership, disease, poverty, and government.

So, how do we do this? Basically, Wilde wants machines to do all the menial work, the thankless soul destroying tasks, and he wants to abolish all social tiering, so no man has any advantage over any other and is free to pursue the goal of beauty (pretty young boys I presume).

It's an interesting work. Wilde' s main focus is on those factors about society that hinder aesthetic individualism- which he believes to be the goal and the right of all people to attain - and in positing a world where these hindrances have been negated.
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4.0 out of 5 stars What Wilde says is always worth listening to., 1 Jan. 2015
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I bought this my daughters friend. He will study Government and Politics and while it may not be a modern expose on politics it is always good to hear what great people from the past thought of subjects that developed in the years since their passing.
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The Soul Of Man Under Socialism
The Soul Of Man Under Socialism by Oscar Wilde (Paperback - 17 Jun. 2004)
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