Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Bosie’

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)

Contrary to popular belief Oscar Wilde did not invent the Aesthetic Movement. But he made a movement that was in danger of collapse (from its lack of substance) hold on much longer. How he came to the forefront as its champion and become spokesman, owes to his genius. Among the writers identified with the 1890s he is the only one whom everyone still reads. The reason is simple really. Other writers took themselves and their case too seriously, as an attorney who having lost the case in the court still makes an indefensible case outside. Wilde merely made a case for the impossible- Decadence, Aestheticism and what have you, with a tongue-in-cheek bon mot that captured the essence of life, seen through whatever label one might care to apply to art. The Movement became the person. When the fall came surely the critics and hypocrisy of the late Victorian saw to it he paid dearly for his morals than for his art.

Image

Wilde an Irishman from as early as 1881 arriving in London chose to provoke the literary circles he moved, with his attitude and in his conduct. He professed he was a socialist while he refused to live within his means. He had put his talents as he would say, in some incomparable plays while he placed his genius on the line, culminating in a trial for his life. In a way he was right: He turned conventional wisdom of his elders on its head But he lived it as well.  (‘All art is at once surface and symbol;Those who go beneath do so at their peril..’)

When the case against Marquess of Queensberry was lost and before the sentence was pronounced  Wilde was given a chance to escape the prison but he stoically refused to take it. He must have remembered his own youth when his father failed to appear in a paternity suit. However the vindictive Victorian society got their man. The two year prison life broke him and except for the Ballad of Readings Gaol he wrote nothing worthwhile. After slumming in France he died in an obscure hotel and buried in the Pere Lachaise cemetery.

Read Full Post »

Here is an item from the Reuters:
‘Major U.S. newspapers called on the Oscar winner to account for the crime, and commentators said U.S. public opinion was running strongly against Polanski.”
This reminds me of a similar public outcry in the Victorian England. Here the target was an Irish genius, a wit and his jibes, a thorn on the side of hypocritical Victorian society. Oscar Wilde had ridiculed their hypocrisies and when he fell they made it sure he was destroyed. Evil of these hypocrites took the guise of social orderliness and fatherly feeling. Marquess Queensberry was seen by the public as a father who would resist his son being corrupted by a pederast. In real his son was a confirmed homosexual even before Oscar Wilde began ‘feasting with panthers ‘as he put it. But the public outrage needed a victim and Wilde, the outsider fitted the bill perfectly. So much for the public outcry against so called ‘moral turpitude.’ The US newspapers are no different from those who gloated on the downfall of Wilde.Polanski is an outsider,of Polish and French extract. His lifestyle was not of American pie and flag waving as of the moral majority.
Wilde found fame in London just as he fell because he was an outsider. Law tried him as an equal only that justice was of doubtful quantity.
Justice that the public cried was not so much for establishing their middleclass correctness or for propriety or justice. When he was sentenced the prostitutes danced on the streets because homosexuals were cutting into their business.
Why did Queensberry pursue Wilde with implacable hatred? He was convinced that his one son had died earlier in a homosexual scandal in which Lord Roseberry who later became the PM of Great Britain was a party.(His son Drumlanrig was afraid of blackmail over his relations with Roseberry.)
From above we see that before Law all are equal but Justice served comes in  tainted dishes.

Thus when the US public cries for justice they merely hide all their prejudices and social injustices to which they are party to and gives lip service to Justice. If only there was a public outcry against Bush when he embarked on his war against Iraq or against Abu Gharib atrocities. There are so many wrongs still in circulation that they could rail against and also work for the good of all.
Tailspin: Law sent Wilde to prison and broke him. His creative genius could not survive the inhuman treatment meted out to him after the fashion of Victorian sense of Justice. Redeeming nature of their prison system was not what could have left the best part in him, his genius, in tact. Effect of justice for a dockworker is different from that of man of letters. Shylock in the Merchant of Venice had the right to his pound of flesh but he had no right to the man’s blood. Collateral damage the Law exacts from his spirit or from those who are dependent on him makes Justice somewhat questionable.
benny

Read Full Post »