From School Library Journal
Grade 9 Up-Two biographies designed to let gay and lesbian teenagers know "...that someone else out there has felt what [they] have felt...and has endured, achieved, and flourished." Wilde begins with the closeted but recklessly flamboyant writer's 1895 conviction and imprisonment for being homosexual, and then backtracks to trace his path leading up to that ordeal, the deterioration of his health, and his death at age 46. It is less intimate, less hopeful, and more analytical than Cather. Packed with references to Wilde's works, especially the comedies, it has its high points when quoting his numerous entertaining remarks. The writing is clear, but non-literary YAs will be put off by the scholarly style that features lengthy quotations and discussions of remote topics. Cather is an impressive work. Readers get the benefit of O'Brien's literary friendship with Cather, developed not person-to-person but through years of studying the novelist, which culminated in her critically acclaimed adult biography (Oxford, 1986). She has stripped away much of the analysis that scholarly biographies require, leaving a lively, intimate, intriguing portrait of one of America's great writers. Ultimately, Cather's lesbianism (never publicly acknowledged) is painstakingly shown as a strong and important strand among many others in the complex web of her commanding personality. The titles share a textbookish format, which is redeemed in part by good-quality, interesting black-and-white photographs, especially in Cather.Claudia Morrow, Berkeley Public Library, CA
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Gr. 10-12. Part of the Lives of Notable Gay Men and Lesbian series, Nunokawa's biography of Oscar Wilde presents the disturbing life story of a man who was, despite his talent and upper-class family connections, destroyed by the pervasive hatred of homosexuals in Victorian England and by his refusal to hide his true identity. Prosecuted by the father of Lord Alfred Douglas, with whom Wilde had an affair, Wilde was sentenced toÿ20two years of hard labor. Broken in both body and spirit, he plummeted from the highest circles of London society to the gutters of Paris, where he died penniless at the age of 46. Portions of Nunokawa's book are too scholarly for the generalÿ20reader, but the account's strength lies in its portrayal of one of gay and lesbian history's most significant events--Oscar Wilde'sÿ20trial and sentencing--as well as a view of the double lives gayÿ20men were forced to adopt a century ago to express "the love thatÿ20dare not speak its name." Illustrated with black-and-white photographs, the book includes a list of Wilde's books, suggestions for further reading, and a chronology. Merri Monks
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.