Comparing Two Biographies of the Genius Oscar Wilde Essay

Comparing Two Biographies of the Genius Oscar Wilde Essay

Length: 3096 words (8.8 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Term Papers

Open Document

Essay Preview

Comparing Two Biographies of the Genius Oscar Wilde

 
    If someone had told Oscar Wilde during his life that for the next hundred years, people would still be taking the time to write about his life and accomplishments, he probably would have wittily declared it impossible for anyone to try to admire him as much as he admired himself.  However, two of his biographers, Frank Harris and Barbara Belford, have done just that.  Harris, in 1916, sixteen years after Wilde's death, published his biography, Oscar Wilde, as a memoir of his own cherished relationship with Wilde, for whom he had served as literary editor and friend.  Just this past year in 2000, after a popular film remake of An Ideal Husband, Belford published Oscar Wilde: A Certain Genius, a tribute to the man and the literary works for which he is famous.

 

Oscar Wilde provides an intimate portrait of the poet, playwright, and self-described aesthete.  Born one year after Wilde, in 1855, Frank Harris was much more than a contemporary.  He lived in the same London social circles, knew the same people, and participated in the same events as Wilde, often by his side.  Harris' biography, which is much more a recounting of the dialogue between Harris and his subject than a straight-forward narrative of Wilde's life, is directed to those outside the loop, those Victorians who misunderstood Wilde, viewing his life as just as one controversy after another.  By focusing heavily on Wilde's education and the intense scrutiny of his lifestyle by England's movers and shakers, he presents Oscar Wilde as an innocent genius whose enthusiastic love of the classics, art, words, and life in general made him a victim in Victorian 1890s London.  Harris uses the insight of his ...


... middle of paper ...


...erent from the methods of Frank Harris.  It is worthwhile to read both accounts, as the two provide an enforced, fuller understanding of who Wilde really was.

 

One hundred years separate us from the physical presence of Oscar Wilde, and eighty-four years separate the biographies of Frank Harris and Barbara Belford.  Though conceived and written independently, they manage to tell the same story.  The story told is that of Oscar Wilde, aesthete and artist, writer and wit, a true genius who was, as many great minds are, ultimately misunderstood by the people of his day.

                                                                                                            

Works Cited

Belford, Barbara.  Oscar Wilde: A Certain Genius.  New York: Random House, 2000.

Harris, Frank.  Oscar Wilde.  New York: Carroll & Graf Publishers, Inc. 1916.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Oscar Wilde's An Ideal Husband Essay examples

- In Oscar Wilde's play, “An Ideal Husband” Wilde's touches upon and focuses on many different sorts of themes such as forgiveness and the past and also marriage. Out of all these many different themes that this play explores in society around the time of 1895, the one that stood out to me the most and I found most striking was the theme of Femininity. Throughout the time that this play took place, Femininity was a very uncommon occurrence to experience. However Wilde uses this theme in order to emphasize the dependency of a woman during that time....   [tags: play analysis]

Term Papers
864 words (2.5 pages)

Exploring Male and Female Expectations in Oscar Wilde's Play Essay

- The primary theme of this play is love and marriage and Wilde explores the male and female role expectations, beliefs and ideals of domestic relationships of the upper class British society in the late 1890’s. The social norms of the Victorian era had strict rules for the behaviours of men and women. For women, who were legally their husband’s property until 1884, high standards were expected. They were to run a respectable household, delegate servants, be quite, compassionate, ladylike and virtuous....   [tags: Oscar Wilde, theatre, ]

Term Papers
1333 words (3.8 pages)

Oscar Wilde 's The Picture Of Dorian Gray Essay

- Oscar Wilde liked to be right. Wait—no, no, that’s not right. Let’s try that again. Oscar Wilde liked people to think he was right. He had the uncanny ability of saying something that sounded good and then doing the exact opposite. Some would call that hypocrisy, but the more popular term for it seems to be “genius” judging by his status as a renowned writer and still-popular celebrity. Genius or not, Wilde knew how to put together a sentence. His life was one for the books, and his book, The Picture of Dorian Gray, is one ripe for the analysis....   [tags: Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray]

Term Papers
1988 words (5.7 pages)

Oscar Wilde's Young King Essays

- Oscar Wilde's 'The Young King' is the tale of a young man's metamorphosis, through a dream quest, that opens his eyes to the heart rendering struggle of the poor, who are exploited by the rich and the powerful to satisfy their own selfish needs. The change that takes place in the Young King reflects his attainment of the virtue asked for in Christ's message. The story begins with "the night before the day fixed for his coronation" and the young king, "being but sixteen years of age" sits alone in his opulent chambers adorned with rich and beautiful things....   [tags: Oscar Wilde]

Free Essays
1777 words (5.1 pages)

Oscar Wilde's An Ideal Husband Essay

- Oscar Wilde's An Ideal Husband Oscar Wilde (1845-1903) lived an outrageous and controversial life which was well publicized and condemned, as his life defied the strict social mores of the time. He was put into this public position due to the success of his plays which challenged Victorian earnestness while being hilariously funny. His plays, in particular An Ideal Husband, 1895 portray Victorian society as viciously hypocritical at it's worst and laughably pretentious at it's best....   [tags: Oscar Wilde Papers]

Term Papers
968 words (2.8 pages)

Salome by Oscar Wilde Essay

- Salome by Oscar Wilde Oscar Wilde’s gruesome and controversial play begs and important question. Who is Salome. In the bible this woman is not even given a name. She is the daughter of Herodias who dances for the pleasure of her stepfather, Herod. Perhaps the very fact that she remains unnamed is part of the mystery and problem that is Salome. There was no need to name this type of woman in patriarchal Christian religion. Yet, Salome’s story continues to inspire and terrify both her champions and her harshest critics....   [tags: Salome Oscar Wilde Essays]

Term Papers
1340 words (3.8 pages)

Essay on Oscar Wilde's The Importance Of Being Earnest

- Oscar Wilde's The Importance Of Being Earnest Oscar Wilde is a legendary author who has composed many great plays including The Green Carnation and A Woman of No Importance, however, The Importance of Being Earnest was undoubtedly the most famous of his works. First published in 1930, yet acknowledged since the late 1800s, The Importance of Being Earnest helped to revive the theater tradition of Congreve and Sheridan. The story is a comedic view of romance and the emphasis we place on seemingly trivial articles, such as a name....   [tags: Oscar Wilde Earnest Essays]

Term Papers
3082 words (8.8 pages)

Oscar Wilde Art Essay

- Oscar Wilde Art We begin another chapter in the life of Oscar Wilde, the year 1888, many things have taken place, Oscar has been married and bore two children, Vyvyan and Cyril and his touring of the United States and other countries have brought forth success to the literary giant. Some of his successful writings are "The Picture of Dorian Gray"(1891), "A Woman of No Importance"(1894) and his most resent essay known "The Decay of Lying". Is it true that lying has fallen to its deepest shadow of shame....   [tags: Oscar Wilde Writer Papers]

Term Papers
1491 words (4.3 pages)

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde Essay

- The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde Art. It's Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Art can be so beautiful or so hideous. So monotonous or poignant. So imaginative or clichéd. So………right or wrong. Art really has no moral, does it. Although the book, The Picture of Dorian Gray has no ethical stance, it was not Oscar Wilde's intention to have a moral. It was to show the splendor of art for art's sake. Through out the paperback of The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde, wildly shows his beliefs in art for art's sake (Cauti XIV)....   [tags: Dorian Gray Oscar Wilde Analysis]

Free Essays
1814 words (5.2 pages)

Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest Essay

- Oscar Wilde's "The Importance of Being Earnest" In the closing lines of the first act of Oscar Wilde's "The Importance of Being Earnest," Algernon remarks, "I love scrapes. They are the only things that are never serious," to which Jack responds, "Oh, that's nonsense Algy. You never talk about anything but nonsense." Algernon caps off this exchange with a proclamation of the purpose of the whole work: "Nobody ever does" (1642). Wilde never allows anything in the work to conclude on a serious note....   [tags: Oscar Wilde Importance Earnest Essays]

Term Papers
3835 words (11 pages)