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Constance: The Tragic and Scandalous Life of Mrs Oscar Wilde Paperback – 2 Feb 2012
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Praise for Desperate Romantics Franny Moyle's book on the Pre-Raphaelites:
'An utterly gripping read'(Sunday Express)
'Riveting' (Independent on Sunday)
Moyle's book captures all the sex, madness and addiction, making modern-day sagas seem downright dull! (Glamour)
Constance Wilde is the subject of one of this year's most heartbreaking biographies...Moyle vindicates a remarkble and courageous woman whose loyalty to her husband was unfailing. While focusing on Constance, the book sheds new light on Wilde as a fond, endearing and surprisingly domesticated family man (Sunday Times, Books of the Year)
The fascinating story of the decadent and thrilling world of Oscar Wilde's wife Constance, and the world of scandal which would betray herSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Constance had a difficult upbringing. Her brother Otho, who she adored, was older than her and she was left with a widowed mother who both verbally and physically abused her. When her mother re-married, Constance went to live with her fathers family, but her early experiences made her withdrawn and shy. Oscar Wilde's family knew hers in Ireland, and so the connection was there from a young age. Constance idolised Oscar, although it is telling that letters from Constance to Otho crossed each other - Constance announcing her engagement at the same time that Otho attempted to warn her about a 'worrying story' he had heard. So, even in those very early days, alarm bells may have been sounding that Oscar may not have been the "ideal husband", although Constance refused to listen to the story and so we can only imagine what warning Otho wished to give.
By this point though, Constance was beyond any warnings or worries and marriage led to her being more outlandish, while Oscar became more conventional. She seemed to gain confidence and took up causes and a new social life with enthusiasm. Constance was a great believer in women wearing more sensible clothing and she was seen as fashionable, although sometimes too daring in her dress. Early marriage was passionate and Constance was expecting her first baby only six months after moving into their new home.Read more ›
Constance was a woman of her time, limited in the interests and activities she could take part in if she wanted to be "respectable." Yet it's clear that Constance desperately wanted to be useful, for her life to have substance and meaning. She pursued this to the best of her ability - writing journalism and children's books, speaking on topics such as rational dress and women's health, studying interior design and photography and other artistic pursuits, campaigning for reform on many issues. Though she was nowhere near as notorious a figure as Oscar, she achieved fame in her own way - for her daring and unconventional outfits, her cultivation of writers and artists, and her public speaking. She was highly intelligent, studious, and a great linguist. Franny Moyle does a beautiful job of conveying the way Constance grows in confidence and ambition, going from a shy and painfully insecure young girl to an acknowledged beauty and one of the most famous women in London. She's flawed, certainly.Read more ›
This is an interesting and educational book covering the wide range of Constance's interests from the Pre-Raphaelites to early feminism and women in politics.
I would recommend it , especially to book clubs, which is where I came across it as the monthly book at my U3A book club
You cannot help but admire Constance when you see what she had to go through - the public ignominy, poverty, derision from Oscar's friends many of whom were jealous of her, and in the end his rejection of her. Despite the author's best efforts Oscar still looms large in this book but we do come to see Constance in her own right and cannot help but wonder what her life and achievements might have been had she loved elsewhere.
This is an engaging read with lots of good background material about the social conventions of the day and the laws that inhibited Oscar and caused his issues. In the end I think that the author's portrayal of the flawed genius that was Oscar was bound to overshadow his wife about whom less is inevitably known but I think that this book does an excellent job of redressing the balance.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Excellent book .. couldn't put it down ... Whisks you right back to those times and into the life of a very brave woman who loved Oscar in spite of it all .. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Foxy
A bit stodgy at times. Read for book club but not that interested in subject. Not enough human interest and too many factsPublished 15 months ago by Jane Pugh
This is a great biography about an interesting lady and an interesting life, brings her out of the shadow of Oscar. Thoroughly recommend.Published on 26 Mar. 2014 by Emma B
the book is written so you can get into it and it maintains your interest. An interesting life, an interesting time and an interesting personPublished on 11 Dec. 2013 by J. Jewels
Anyone reading Oscar's story will hear little about Constance. She is almost a byline in many accounts. Yet it is intriguing to learn something of her background and influence. Read morePublished on 10 July 2013 by FISCHER
I devoured this book! The historic figures it brought to life, the style, the author's studied approach, the development. Read morePublished on 12 Jun. 2013 by Jacqueline Berben
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