Son of Oscar Wilde

Son of Oscar Wilde

4.22 (89 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

First published in 1954, this account of Oscar Wilde's life written by his son tells of his childhood, and the Oscar Wilde affair and its aftermath, revealing Wilde to have been the scapegoat of puritan hypocrisy. As the public interest in Wilde grew, and the lies about him multiplied, Vyvyan Holland decided to write his own account of the Oscar Wilde affair and its aftermath. "It is not a very amusing or entertaining story" he says, but it dramatically reveals what family life was actually like for the Wildes as Oscar was being persecuted, and then later, after his death, when most of his relations did their best to deny that he had ever lived, even going to the extent of changing his sons' names from Wilde to Holland. This edition also contains 33 of Oscar Wilde's letters to friends, an Oxford reminiscence of Wilde by W.W. Ward, some prose poems by Wilde, letters from Lord Alfred Douglas to Vyvyan Holland and several contemporary newspaper reports of events during and after the Oscar Wilde affair. The foreword was written by Merlin Holland, Oscar Wilde's grandson.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 288 pages
  • 124 x 196 x 24mm | 258.55g
  • Oxford University Press
  • Oxford Paperbacks
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • New edition
  • New edition
  • 8pp plates, index
  • 0192821970
  • 9780192821973

Review Text

At times stunning in the revelation of human cruelty and the misery it engenders, at times stultifying in the detail of schoolboy transfers, this autobiography of Oscar Wilde's younger son is a virtually new and vital part of the Wilde story. Vyvyan was a young boy when he was deprived of a father he recalled as affectionate and was victimized along with his older brother Cyril, his mother and his father, by the grim Victorian grindstone of righteousness. He tells how he grew up on the Continent, concealing his paternity and living under the ancestral name of Holland. Weighted by an unknown tragedy, of which his brother had gained knowledge, he lived through the trials and exhilarations of schooldays, to return to England only after his beloved mother's death. Deception continued until in London he met his father's friends and came to know something of the true nature of his father. Cyril met death in World War I, and Vyvyan made a name for himself in letters, while the name the Victorians had scratched from title pages regained its brilliant lustre. At once agonized and accepting, this is( a necessarily unique viewpoint of the Wilde tragedy, which will find its audience. (Kirkus Reviews)show more

Table of contents

Prologue. The happy years; exile; Germany; Monaco; return from exile; adolesence; happy years ahead; and now. Appendices: A - 33 letters from Oscar Wilde to Reginald Richard ("Kitten") Harding and William Welsford ("Bouncer") Ward, 1876-1878; B - Oscar Wilde - an Oxford reminiscence, by W.W. Ward; C - unpublished poems in prose told by Oscar Wilde; D - letters from Lord Alfred Douglas; E - stages of opinion on Oscar Wilde's works. Index.show more

Rating details

89 ratings
4.22 out of 5 stars
5 43% (38)
4 38% (34)
3 18% (16)
2 1% (1)
1 0% (0)
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