The great poet, satirist and playwright, Oscar Wilde, is as misunderstood today as he was in his own time. Vilified and persecuted by fellow Victorians for his sexuality and his dandyism, these days he is hailed as a progressive sexual liberator. Yet this is not how Wilde saw himself. His actions and his pretences did not bring him happiness and fulfillment: his art did. And this is where Pearce's search for the man behind the masks is centred.
This powerful and controversial new study of Wilde's brilliant and tragic life is published on the Centenary of his death. Rather than lingering on the mistakes which brought him notoriety, it explores the emotional and spiritual search of this fascinating and complex literary figure.
This book uncovers how his "heart of stone" was broken by the two-year prison sentence and probes the deeper thinking behind the masterpieces of his novel, plays, short stories and poetry. It includes discussion of 'The Ballad Of Reading Gaol' and the posthumously published, 'De Profundis' and also traces his love affair with the church.