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Oscar: A Life (Hardback)
  • Oscar: A Life (Hardback)
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Oscar: A Life (Hardback)

(author)
£25.00 £22.99
Hardback 656 Pages / Published: 04/10/2018
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'Simply the best modern biography of Wilde ... A terrific achievement' Evening Standard.

'Page-turning ... Vivid and desperately moving. However much you think you know Wilde, this book will absorb and entertain you' The Sunday Times.

'Wonderfully exciting ... Sturgis's great achievement is to take on board his great flurry of contradictions' Craig Brown, Mail on Sunday.

'[Sturgis] is a tremendous orchestrator of material, fastidious, unhurried, indefatigable' Observer.

'Oscar Wilde is more fashionable than ever ... Sturgis's account of the hearing at the Old Bailey is as gripping as it is grim' Guardian.

Oscar Wilde's life - like his wit - was alive with paradox. He was both an early exponent and a victim of 'celebrity culture': famous for being famous, he was lauded and ridiculed in equal measure. His achievements were frequently downplayed, his successes resented. He had a genius for comedy but strove to write tragedies. He was an unabashed snob who nevertheless delighted in exposing the faults of society. He affected a dandified disdain but was prone to great acts of kindness. Although happily married, he became a passionate lover of men and - at the very peak of his success - brought disaster upon himself. He disparaged authority, yet went to the law to defend his love for Lord Alfred Douglas. Having delighted in fashionable throngs, Wilde died almost alone: barely a dozen people were at his graveside.

Yet despite this ruinous end, Wilde's star continues to shine brightly. His was a life of quite extraordinary drama. Above all, his flamboyant refusal to conform to the social and sexual orthodoxies of his day make him a hero and an inspiration to all who seek to challenge convention.

In the first major biography of Oscar Wilde in thirty years, Matthew Sturgis draws on a wealth of new material and fresh research to place the man firmly in the context of his times. He brings alive the distinctive mood and characters of the fin de siecle in the richest and most compelling portrait of Wilde to date.

Publisher: Head of Zeus
ISBN: 9781788545976
Number of pages: 656
Dimensions: 234 x 153 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
'Most of Wilde's biographers have seen him through the prism of his own heightened sense of tragedy. Sturgis's great achievement is to take on board his great flurry of contradictions - celebratory yet self-pitying, indifferent to his wife's agonies yet kind to total strangers, broken by prison yet still capable of day-to-day merriment - while at the same time conjuring him up as a coherent whole' Mail on Sunday.
'Sturgis's evocation of Wilde's jail term is especially well done in its light and shade ... and the diminuendo of his final days is desperately moving. However much you think you know about Wilde, this book will absorb and entertain you. It thickens the texture of every aspect of his unique life - dazzling, decadent and doomed' Sunday Times.
'A perfectly diligent book, and tells new readers all they possibly need to know about Wilde and his world' The Times.
'Authoritative, magnificently researched' Spectator.
'Authoritative and accurate, and Sturgis writes in a cheery, readable style' Literary Review.
'If you thought you knew all about the playwright, this captivating new biography will prove you wrong' Country Life.
'Matthew Sturgis uses new letters and a libel trial transcript to give a fuller picture of Oscar Wilde's dazzling rise and tragic fall ... He is a tremendous orchestrator of material, fastidious, unhurried, indefatigable' Observer.
'[Matthew Sturgis] knows more about the 1890s than anyone else alive' A.N. Wilson.

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