Richard Ellmann capped an illustrious career in biography (his James Joyce
is considered one of the masterpieces of the 20th century) with this life of Oscar Wilde, which won both the National Book Critics Circle Award and Pulitzer Prize on its original publication in 1988. Ellmann's account of Wilde's extravagantly operatic life as poet, playwright, aesthete, and martyr to sexual morality is notable not only for the full portrait it gives of Wilde, but also for Ellmann's assessment of his subject's literary greatness; both aims are served by a plethora of quotations from Wilde's own work and correspondence. Wilde straddled the line between the Victorian age and the modern world as he did everything in life ... with impeccable style.
From Library Journal
The late Ellmann worked 20 years on this magisterial biography. He tells the fascinating story of Oscar Wildewit and aesthete, poet and playwright, scapegrace and scapegoatmore fully and irresistibly than it has ever been told before. Ellmann captures Wilde's charm and high spirits and also the darker side of his personality, which led to increasingly public homosexual affairs at a time when homosexuality was legally a crime. Ellmann skillfully marshals his material (some of it new), and he writes brilliantly but unobtrusively. A masterpiece to match Ellmann's James Joyce (1959), this work is certain to trigger renewed interest in Wilde. Keith Cushman, Univ. of North Carolina, Greensboro
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc.
--This text refers to the