E's Reviews > De Profundis and Other Writings

De Profundis and Other Writings by Oscar Wilde
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Dec 13, 10

bookshelves: philosophy-criticism
Read in December, 2010

"The Soul of Man Under Socialism" is pure genius. Rarely are politics and poetry so beautifully entwined, yet Wilde presents them as inherently so. Two jewels that shone particularly bright in the lattice:

"...the past is what man should not have been. The present is what man ought not to be. The future is what artists are."

"...a community is infinitely more brutalized by the habitual employment of punishment than it is by the occasional occurrence of crime."

"The Decay of Lying" is classic Wilde philosophy, albeit Decadence ironically spoken by two characters named after his own sons. It is best read when one is in a Decadent mood.

"De Profundis" struck me as potentially interesting for those concerned with the political implications that enshrouded Wilde personally, but having already seen the biopic Wilde, it merely read to me like notes for the screenplay. "The Ballad of Reading Gaol" manifests a more concise, impressive intersection of his jarring personal experience with his poetic gift.
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