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gay & lesbian

Oscar Wilde: The Great Drama of His Life—How His Tragedy Reflected His Personality

Ashley H. Robins.
Publisher Sussex Academic  
Format paperback
Product Dimensions 9.2 x 6.15 x 0.6 inches
ISBN 9781845195410
Pages/Publication Date 264/2012
Daedalus Item Code 61500
This item is not available.
In the early 1890s Oscar Wilde enjoyed one of the most high-profile reputations in Britain and yet, virtually overnight, he was plunged into disgrace and ruin. Psychiatrist Ashley Robins here explores Wilde's motivation in prosecuting the Marquess of Queensberry for publicly accusing him of sodomy, and elaborates on the precarious legal situation that effectively quashed any prospect of a withdrawal from the lawsuit without dire consequences. Robins discusses the issue of homosexuality itself from the broader historical, legal, and biological perspective, and examines the medical and psychiatric aspects of Wilde's two-year imprisonment using the original Home Office records, which reveal the machinations among prison officials and doctors to cover up Wilde's state of health. He also details Wilde's tangled matrimonial affairs during his imprisonment and the maneuvers adopted by friends to secure his early release, including a plan to bribe prison personnel. Finally, in an innovative experiment, Robins has a group of Wildean scholars complete psychological questionnaires as if each was doing so for Wilde himself, and assesses Wilde's personality using internationally accepted diagnostic criteria, concluding that he had a disorder of personality that culminated in the final and tragic phase of his life.

"With its narrow focus on Oscar's personality, behavior, and adversities, this is a somber book which inevitably has few glimpses of his wit and his greatness as a writer. That said, it is notably lucid and well-reasoned, carefully and thoroughly researched with valuable extended quotations from unfamiliar original sources, and adds significantly to our understanding of Wilde the man and of important events in his life."—Donald Mead

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