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De Profundis

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4.19  ·  Rating details ·  10,886 ratings  ·  949 reviews
De Profundis (Latin: "from the depths") is a 50,000 word letter written by Oscar Wilde during his imprisonment in Reading Gaol, to Lord Alfred Douglas, his lover. Wilde wrote the letter between January and March 1897; he was not allowed to send it, but took it with him upon release. In it he repudiates Lord Alfred for what Wilde finally sees as his arrogance and vanity; he ...more
Paperback, 188 pages
Published September 12th 1993 by Fontamara (first published February 1905)
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°°°·.°·..·°¯°·._.· ʜᴇʟᴇɴ Ροζουλί Εωσφόρος ·._.·°¯°·.·° .·°°° ★·.·´¯`·.·★ Ⓥⓔⓡⓝⓤⓢ Ⓟⓞⓡⓣⓘⓣⓞⓡ Ⓐⓡⓒⓐⓝⓤⓢ Ταμετούρο   Αμ
”Now it seems to me that love of some kind is the only possible explanation of the extraordinary amount of suffering that there is in the world. I cannot conceive of any other explanation. I am convinced that there is no other, and that if the world has indeed, as I have said, been built of sorrow, it has been built by the hands of love, because in no other way could the soul of man, for whom the world was made, reach the full stature of its perfection. Pleasure for the beautiful body, but pain ...more
Trevor
Jan 05, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: literature
It is funny how sometimes books come at you (and when I say you, I mean me), sometimes almost in clusters. It is almost like there really is a God and He has infinite knowledge of the universe and knows just what it is that you need to be thinking about right about now, except He is curiously shy and so He doesn’t like to come right out with it and tell you directly what’s on His mind. So, instead, He leaves books lying around in places where you are fairly likely to trip over them and then pick ...more
Piyangie
Feb 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
De Profundis or "from the depths" is a long letter written by Oscar Wild to Lord Alfred Douglas while he was imprisoned in Reading Goal.

The letter is Wild's attempt to come to terms with his past, present dire circumstances, and the future that he will have to face once released. As the name states, the letter is an account from the depth - from his soul with all honesty. Although he holds that he is unjustly convicted, he nevertheless admits that he has committed grave errors in the past. He i
...more
leynes
Jan 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
At the beginning of 2016, I read an abridged version of De Profundis. Alongside with The Importance of Being Earnest, The Picture of Dorian Gray and Lord Arthur Savile’s Crime, it was one of the first things I read by Oscar Wilde and that made me utterly and irrevocably fall in love with him. After finishing the abridged version, I dived into an extensive research on Oscar and uncovered the injustices he had to face during his lifetime. So, the abridged version of this letter solidified him as m ...more
Paquita Maria Sanchez
I am giving this a lower rating than it technically deserves, due to some of my personal beliefs that are important enough to me that I am unwilling to ignore them in a review where they are so entirely relevant to the book at hand. As a piece of writing, it is several synonyms for luscious and tragically chest-stabby. However, underneath the primary and quite applicable to post-3-decades-on-Earth-me themes of looking back on many a wasted year and regretting a lot of the selfish and short-sight ...more
Vivian
Jan 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017-odyssey, theory
When faced with the abyss before you, is there only emptiness or is there a new beginning?

This is an intensely personal examination of Wilde's journey during incarceration. It follows the Stages of Grief and intertwines the religious with art. It has some incredible observations that made me examine my own thoughts and assumptions.

But it is a very unimaginative nature that only cares for people on their pedestals. A pedestal may be a very unreal thing. A pillory is a terrific reality. They sh
...more
Maria Espadinha
Jun 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
1º Acto - Uma Parteira Chamada Dor:

- "Suffering is really a revelation. One discerns things one's never discerned before"

2º Acto - A Roda dos Opostos:

- "I turned the good things of my life to evil and the evil things of my life to good"

3º Acto - A Experiência Constrói o Ser:

- "To regret one's own experience is to arrest one's own development"


Cai o Pano:

No fim de tudo o que há a reter, é que quem trilha o Caminho do Puro Prazer, está na verdade a trilhar o Caminho da Dor sem o saber.
Quer nos agra
...more
Alice Poon
Feb 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: classics, non-fiction

A piece of beautiful, honest, philosophical writing that flows from a chastened soul.

Passages that tug at my heartstrings:

"To regret one's own experiences is to arrest one's own development. To deny one's own experiences is to put a lie into the lips of one's own life. It is no less than a denial of the soul."

"Truth in art is the unity of a thing with itself: the outward rendered expressive of the inward: the soul made incarnate: the body instinct with spirit."

"Now it seems to me that love of so
...more
Mark
Nov 05, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: To the Marquis of Queesnsbury,
Recommended to Mark by: someone to whom I should be eternally grateful
In the letter Wilde wrote to his friend Robert Ross enclosing this extended essay he finishes with a beautiful image

' On the other side of the prison wall there are some poor black soot-besmirched trees which are just breaking out into buds of an almost shrill gren. I know quite well what they are going through. They are finding expression '.

These lovely few sentences capture quite marvelously the thrust of this book. It is an account of Wilde's re-birth from in amidst the degradation and cruel
...more
Quirkyreader
Feb 02, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the letters Wilde wrote while in prison. It is very heart felt and references many of the things he studied while at Oxford.
K.D. Absolutely
Oct 18, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: 501 Must Read Books (Memoir)
Shelves: 501, memoirs
How can a love be so true be so wrong? No, erase that. Who am I to say that it is wrong?

Oscar Wilde (1854–1900), Irish writer, poet, aesthete and Lord Alfred Douglas (1870-1945), British author, poet, translator are in-love with each other and they are both homosexuals. Also, Wilde is married to Constance Lloyd (1859-1898) and they have two children: Cyril and Vyvyn.

Douglas is single at 21 and Wilde, 37, married and already a father when they start their affair. After a year, Wilde is incarcerat
...more
Saman
Jul 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: oscar-wilde
“When first I was put in prison some people advised me to try and forget who I was. It was ruinous advice. It is only by realizing what I am that I have found the comfort of any kind.”

For me, Oscar Wilde is one of those few authors whose works make you question human behavior, and De Profundis was no different.

With every Oscar Wilde read, my love for him has only increased, and I don’t think I’ll ever read Oscar Wilde and not like it. I don’t have much to say except that it was an intense and
...more
georgia ☽
i'm not okay.

"Society, as we have constituted it, will have no place for me, has none to offer; but Nature, whose sweet rains fall on unjust and just alike, will have clefts in the rocks where I may hide, and secret valleys in whose silence I may weep undisturbed. She will hang the night with stars so that I may walk abroad in the darkness without stumbling, and send the wind over my footprints so that none may track me to my hurt: she will cleanse me in great waters, and with bitter herbs make
...more
Stina
Jul 12, 2017 rated it liked it
I won't write a solid review for this because I just poured out my energy in a review with terrible grammar and no good points. Just a forewarning, y'all.

When I read this, all I could really do was think about Oscar Wilde's conditions when writing this. He wrote it in prison. I can't imagine he had it very nice there. Yet, he manages to write a perfectly Oscar Wilde-y letter, with beautiful prose and good insights.

I don't really want to talk about it anymore... just read it. If you like Oscar W
...more
Lynne King
Apr 22, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: oscar-wilde
This is a fabulous book. I loved it when I read it twenty or so years ago but I appreciate it more now for its literary worth. That's the difference.

Nice to see that it's still being read by my friends here.
Liz
Nov 04, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fbc-15
I can't believe how highly rated this book is here. I can't remember being so crushingly disappointed by anything since the Star Wars prequels. I had been waiting to read this for so long before I finally bought it for myself; I love Oscar Wilde but he can be a bit glib, so I was eager to read what he had written while imprisoned. I was hoping to see him become genuinely introspective, learn what drove him to the conversion I knew came soon afterward, and generally read some beautiful, heartfelt ...more
Dani
My first thought when I’d only read a page or two: “wow this is the most intelligently-bitchy thing I’ve ever read I love it.”
Another page or two in, and I’m already so sad. My heart breaks for Oscar Wilde. And honestly, FUCK Alfred Douglas. What a jerk. I guess toxic people and relationships have always existed :(
BAM The Bibliomaniac
I'm only 6 pages in and my heart is breaking
Jackie
Part I
Wow. Well, first off, this was excellent Valentine's Day reading, and when I say that I'm only about 64% sarcastic. If De Profundis shows anything it shows that love is complicated and however much I wanted to shake Oscar Wilde and yell "You're right to be upset! He's horrible! He's not worth it!" I know he wouldn't listen to me.
On the other hand, I can't imagine being on the receiving end of this letter and keeping my cool, even if I just had a teaspoonful of heart.

Part II
This is what mak
...more
Sidharth Vardhan
Jul 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Probably the best, most beautiful and profound (it is there in title) book written by Oscar Wilde. This is probably even better better that 'The Picture of Dorian Grey'.
Peter (Pete) Mcloughlin
Wilde at the end of his life after suffering from public humiliation and hard labor in prison writes on what is left when the world spurns you. Suffering is more of a guide in life to what is valuable in us than pleasure. Pleasure can wear a mask. Pain and suffering never do. Coming to terms with suffering makes us focus on what is that kernel that can't be destroyed and represents a kind of wisdom. I can imagine that Wilde suffered unjustly for his sensual proclivities but he manages to retrie ...more
Ying Ying
May 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've read the original (i.e. abridged) version only. Wilde's writing remained powerful despite his immense suffering in prison. Even though the text was incomplete, it was not less significant. I might pick up a more complete version of De Profundis some time soon.
Christopher
Beautiful, fascinating, poetic, and heartbreaking, Wilde becomes the “spectator of his own tragedy” in De Profundis and attempts a sort of mystical Confiteor to make sense of the suffering of his soul.

When first I was put into prison some people advised me to try and forget who I was. It was ruinous advice. It is only by realizing what I am that I have found comfort of any kind. Now I am advised by others to try on my release to forget that I have ever been in a prison at all. I know that would
...more
Michael
May 06, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018
At once a meditation on what it means to live a worthwhile life and a tirade against a reckless former lover, De Profundis is the publication of a long letter Wilde wrote in prison to Lord Alfred Douglas, whose carelessness in large part led to Wilde's imprisonment upon charges of homosexuality. The letter mostly sketches the regrettable course of the relationship; its middle section, though, takes a detour in order to stress similarities between the life of Christ and that of an artist, tacitly ...more
julieta
Nov 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book is just so painful. It gets difficult a times, but then at others Wilde makes something much bigger of his woes. He flies in philosophy, metaphysic ideas. Love, hate, hurt, sorrow, Christ, friendship, family, he speaks of so many things. Yet you are left with a very sad feeling. If this is what may happen to someone so great, what is left for mere mortals like us? Is love to be so cruel?
Théodore
After all, Wilde's novel does not pose the problem of likes or dislikes, given the rather controversial topic.

O.W. - had a destiny that taught him ( early enough) - which is the reverse of irresponsible excesses and eccentricity : the social-sanction, ( of Victorian society ! ) , dishonor and imprisonment.

Wilde was not, however, sanctionated by society for his scandalous speech, but for immorality, for " the crime of sodomy ".
" De profundis "- is a long letter to Lord Alfred Douglas, ( spo
...more
Andrew Calderon
Aug 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This 'book'-in reality, it is a letter written to Lord Alfred Douglas-is brimming with beautiful passages, intelligent ideas, and honest emotion. I haven't read something this transfixing and powerful in quite some time. It truly reveals Wilde's mastery of language, and his profound understanding on the human psyche. I found myself wondering if he knew that this would be read in the future by people other than Lord Alfred Douglas. It wouldn't change my experience of the book, but it was just so ...more
Cynthia Peña
Oct 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 100, oscar-wilde, irish
I have taken more time than I should have to finish this book. I was alternating it with one of Ayn Rand's books. Anyway, this is of no import.

On with the review.

Honest, wrought with emotions, Oscar Wilde fulfilled the title's English translation "out of the depths." Every word, phrase, every line mirrored his strong sentiments of sorrow and pain, and of hope and aspiration from all his sufferings during the time of his incarceration. De Profundis, nevertheless, reflected the poignancy of his w
...more
Alison
Feb 25, 2010 rated it really liked it
I never would have expected a treatise on the meaning of suffering and sorrow, the path to the soul, and a meditation upon Christ as the first true artist/poet from a man imprisoned for homosexuality. It was a pleasure to read this "letter" that emerged out of Oscar Wilde's two year imprisonment for "illicit behavior". How one of his life of leisure, wealth, and decadence could find the path to his soul and the beauty in suffering and the value of nature while imprisoned in a jail cell for two y ...more
Mila
Feb 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
I quite enjoyed the writing and liked thinking about some issues that Oscar Wilde brought up in this very long letter. Also, even though we don't know the other side of the story, it was hard for me not to hate the other guy because judging by Wilde's descriptions, he was a typical narcissistic and abusive jerk and I couldn't stand him. And I didn't like the religious turn the letter took towards the end, it wasn't something I personally wanted to read about.
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Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde was an Irish playwright, poet, and author of numerous short stories, and one novel. Known for his biting wit, and a plentitude of aphorisms, he became one of the most successful playwrights of the late Victorian era in London, and one of the greatest celebrities of his day. Several of his plays continue to be widely performed, especially The Importance of Being ...more

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