Entertainment

The Secret Life of Oscar Wilde

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 14 November, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 14 November, 2004, 12:00am

The Secret Life of Oscar Wilde


by Neil McKenna


Arrow $135


Most accounts of Oscar Wilde's life have presented him as predominantly heterosexual, a man whose love of men was some kind of temporary madness. This biography presents an open account of his sexual journey, from his first feelings for other men to the paganism of his last years in exile. Wilde was torn between the desire to proclaim the existence of his secret life and the need to conceal it. These conflicting imperatives fired his creativity and found expression in his writing. McKenna has drawn on diaries and memoirs of Wilde's friends, letters from lovers, witness statements and transcripts of legal trials, and on Wilde's poems and comedies, nearly all of which are highly autobiographical.