Oscar Wilde: Reminiscences

Oscar Wilde: Reminiscences

Language: English

Pages: 64


Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Personal recollections from André Gide on a man who profoundly influenced his work—Oscar Wilde
André Gide, a towering figure in French letters, draws upon his friendship with Oscar Wilde to sketch a compelling portrait of the tragic, doomed author, both celebrated and shunned in his time. Rather than compile a complete biography, Gide invites us to discover Wilde as he did—from their first meeting in 1891 to their final parting just two years before Wilde’s death—all told through Gide’s sensitive, incomparable prose.
Using his notes, recollections, and conversations, Gide illuminates Wilde as a man whose true art was not writing, but living.
This ebook features a new introduction by Jeanine Parisier Plottel, selected quotes, and an image gallery.














grog. I noticed then, in the better light, that the skin of his face had become red and common; that of the hands even more so, though they were again wearing the same rings; one, which he was very fond of, had a setting of an Egyptian scarab in lapis-lazuli. His teeth were atrociously decayed. We chatted. I spoke to him again of our last meeting in Algiers. I asked him whether he remembered that at the time he had almost predicted the catastrophe. “Isn’t it so,” I said, “that you knew to a

very fast, was irresistibly comical, and as I burst out laughing, he laughed too, repeated it, and then continued: “He didn’t know what to imagine to make us suffer … You’ll see how lacking he was in imagination … You have to know that in prison you’re allowed to go outside only an hour a day; you then walk around a court behind one another, and it’s absolutely forbidden to speak to one another. There are guards watching you and there are terrible punishments for the one they catch.—Those who

to be brought up before the warden…”—And as pity had already entered my heart, I was afraid only for him; indeed, I was happy to suffer because of him.—But the warden was quite terrible. He had P … brought in first; he wanted to question us separately—because you have to know that the penalty for the one who starts speaking and the one who answers is not the same; the penalty of the one who speaks first is double that of the other; ordinarily, the first gets two weeks of solitary confinement, the

anything good in solitude; he constantly needs distraction. All the best things that he’s written were written when he was with me.—Just look at his last letter …” B … showed it to me and read it to me.—It begged B … to let him finish his Pharaoh in peace, but said, in effect, that, once the play was written, he would come back, would join him again—and ended with this glorious phrase: “… and then I shall again be the King of Life.” V AND SHORTLY AFTERWARD, WILDE CAME BACK TO Paris.1 His play

arm, drew back, and then bursting into laughter, said, “It’s because she was a virgin!…” Let me again be permitted to quote this tale, a most strange one and a tough nut for the mind to crack—it is a rare spirit that will understand the contradiction, which Wilde hardly seems to be inventing. “… Then there was a great silence in the Chamber of God’s Justice.—And the soul of the sinner advanced stark naked before God. And God opened the book of the sinner’s life: ‘Certainly your life has been

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