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The Unmasking of Oscar Wilde

4.27  ·  Rating Details ·  91 Ratings  ·  10 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 June 15th 2005 by Ignatius Press (first published 2000)
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Jul 24, 2011 Dave rated it really liked it
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
Mar 30, 2013 Kari rated it it was amazing
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
James Smith
Aug 04, 2010 James Smith rated it really liked it
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.
Jul 14, 2007 Allie rated it liked it
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
May 19, 2015 Andy rated it really liked it
As most biographies do, this book starts of very slow. I almost gave up on it for a time but always went back to plug away. However, this book builds and builds. I would give the first quarter of the book two stars, it reads almost like a bland text book doing not much more than throwing facts at you. Middle half would get three stars, a very solid building of the man and experience of Oscar. then Last quarter of the book is where the payoff truly rests. It is here where it becomes a page turner ...more
Oct 13, 2016 Annyke rated it it was amazing
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Oscar Wilde turned out to be both a much worse, and a much better man than I used to think - a man who willfully ruined his life and others, and a man who worried about his soul. I loved this biography, Joseph Pearce did a good job unmasking Wilde. A lot of the tragedy of Wildes life was of his own making, but you cannot help wishing him to make better choices than he did.
Jess Leach
Jan 20, 2015 Jess Leach rated it it was amazing
Satisfying, penetrating and thorough exploration of the real Wilde.
Apr 22, 2015 Steve rated it really liked it
Christian biography of Wilde. A tale of self destruction.
Read any and all Pearce's books- they are all worthwhile
Mike O'Connor
Oct 07, 2014 Mike O'Connor rated it really liked it
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
Nov 13, 2015 Bellz687 rated it it was amazing
Love this book. Gives such a thorough and thrilling tale on Wilde's life. Highly recommend this!
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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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