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Fall of the House of Wilde : Oscar Wilde and His Family (Hardcover) (Emer O'Sullivan)
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It’s widely known that Oscar Wilde was precociously intellectual, flamboyant, and hedonistic--but lesser so that he owed these characteristics to his parents and some members of the Wildes’ dazzling Anglo-Irish coterie in Victorian Dublin. This is the first book to examine him within his milieu.
His mother, a scintillating hostess, passed on her infectious delight in the art of living to Oscar, who drank it in greedily. His father laid the foundations for the Celtic cultural renaissance but ultimately was remembered for sexually assaulting a female patient. Both culturally and politically, their family had helped fuel the rise of Irish nationalism, which eventually would lead to the toppling of the Protestant ruling class. When the Wildes decamped to London, Oscar burst upon the scene and set upon the task of inventing himself. In no time, his face was one of the most photographed on both sides of the Atlantic, and beneath that swelling head was a self-destructive itch. He never knew when the party was over, and ultimately, his trial for indecency heralded the death of decadence--and his own.
The Wilde family were members of a caste whose fortunes were turning, but they also seemed to unwittingly court disaster. The Fall of the House of Wilde is a remarkable and perceptive account of one of the most prominent characters of the late nineteenth century--and the family and society that created him.