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The Unmasking of Oscar Wilde

4.26 of 5 stars 4.26  ·  rating details  ·  66 ratings  ·  7 reviews
Vilified by fellow Victorians for his sexuality and his dandyism, Oscar Wilde, the great poet, satirist and playwright, is hailed today, in some circles, as a "progressive" sexual liberator. But this is not how Wilde saw himself. His actions and pretensions did not bring him happiness and fulfillment. This study of Wilde's brilliant and tragic life goes beyond the mistakes ...more
Hardcover, 412 pages
Published April 1st 2004 by Ignatius Press (first published 2000)
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I read Pearce's biography of Chesterton and thought it was ok. He did not offer a lot of insight and, for as much as I love Chesterton, he seemed to be too much of an apologist for him.

I thought that Pearce escapes many of those faults in his excellent treatment of Wilde.

Briefly, the negatives here are somewhat similar to the Chesterton bio. He mentions critics of Wilde's work, but I can't recall when he agreed with them. Surely some of them might have been right about something. But he is also
James Smith
I recently re-read this book--always a precarious test for a book. But Pearce's work stands up well. Something of a counterweight to Ellman's canonical biography, Pearce pays close attention to Wilde's life-long tortuous relationship to Christian faith, particularly Catholicism. Pearce is particularly good at drawing lines from the French "decadents" (Baudelaire, Huysmans, et. al.) to Wilde and British decadence. Of note is the fact that so many of these "decadents" became Catholic.
Micah Harding
Pearce presents Wildes' life struggle which seemed to hover around and desired the Catholic faith, but was overcome by the opposing pull of the decedent lifestyle. The chapter on the effect that Ruskin and Paters' oxford debate had on Wilde was very
helpful. Altogether readable and enjoyable.
I loved this book. I will read anything Joseph Pearce writes. He is an eloquent writer and and speaker. His research is extensive and I have a better time believing his ideas than, taking it for truth, than many other writers who decide they have written a "definitive" book on someone. I've seen Jospeh Pearce speak on a panel and been to a few discussion groups/classes he lead and he is not only brilliant and has a wide information base on several subjects, bit he is a humble, sweet, caring man. ...more
Oscar Wilde was a profane and obscene character, which fact has prompted me to defend my interest in his life and works more than once. The fascination is that late in life (he had a short one), about two or three years before he died, his writing changed drastically from what most people know (think The Importance of Being Earnest or An Ideal Husband for some of his tamer works) to what seem to be the thoughtful and heartfelt writings of a broken man. His last two works, the Ballad of Reading G ...more
Jess Leach
Satisfying, penetrating and thorough exploration of the real Wilde.
Mike O'connor
A literary biography to be sure, best read after first reading Ellman's definitive bio (though Pearce does cast some doubt on the syphilis diagnosis and finally clears up that the picture of Wilde "cross-dressed" as Salome is NOT in fact Wilde). Still, interesting stuff on Oscar's lifelong flirtation with the Catholic Church culminating in his deathbed conversion, the one weak spot for me was not enough time spent on the indecency trial(s), particularly in parsing Wilde's testimony for further i ...more
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Joseph Pearce (born 1961) is an English-born writer, and as of 2004 Writer in Residence and Professor of Literature at Ave Maria University in Ave Maria, Florida; previously he had a comparable position, from 2001, at Ave Maria College in Ypsilanti, Michigan. He is known for a number of literary biographies, many of Catholic figures. Formerly aligned with the National Front, a white nationalist po ...more
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Tolkien: Man and Myth, a Literary Life C.S. Lewis and the Catholic Church Solzhenitsyn: A Soul in Exile Literary Converts: Spiritual Inspiration in an Age of Unbelief Wisdom and Innocence: A Life of G. K. Chesterton

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