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All Men Kill the Thing They Love

  • Jun. 9th, 2009 at 8:44 PM
The Ballad of Reading Gaol is a poem by Oscar Wilde written after his release from Reading prison on 19 May 1897. Its main theme is the death penalty. Wilde was incarcerated in HMP Reading, in Reading, Berkshire, after being convicted of homosexual offences in 1895 and sentenced to two years' hard labour in prison. During his imprisonment a hanging took place.

Trooper Charles Thomas Wooldridge was someone whom Wilde had seen many times during his imprisonment. He had been found guilty of slitting his wife’s throat with a razor. It inspired in Wilde’s mind an illustration of the way we are all malefactors, all in need of forgiveness. According to Wilde the greater the crime, the more necessary charity. His final vision of the world is not frivolity, but one of suffering.

Although Wilde never hid his authorship of the poem, it was published under the name C.3.3., which stood for "Building C, floor 3, cell 3, at Reading." This ensured that Wilde's name—by then notorious—did not appear on the poem's front cover.

Wilde knew the town of Reading from less troubled times in his life when boating on the Thames, and also from visits to the Palmer family, including a tour of the famous Huntley & Palmers biscuit factory quite close to the prison. (From Wikipedia)

The Ballad of Reading Gaol )Read more... )

Dorian Gray Discussion - Wit and Realism

  • Jun. 3rd, 2009 at 6:16 AM
I've gotten a couple of chapters in to Dorian Gray and I am wondering what everyone thinks about Wilde's renowned wit. 

As an aside, I have been on a realism kick in books lately.  I have actively been searching out novels where the characters (especially women) are portrayed as normal people instead of brilliant, beautiful, special snowflakes whom every male character wants to have sex with.  The alternative seems to be where women are unattractive as a  plot point.  Still not reality and rather annoying.

Back to Dorian Gray.  Oscar Wilde is famous for being clever and witty, whereas us normal people are not that damn insightful or amusing. In reading the first few chapters, every character had a smart comeback or observation for everything.  The part of me that has been searching for realism rolled my eyes and thought how clever, Oscar. Aren't you something?  

Can a writer be too witty for his or her own good? 

How important is realism to you enjoying a novel?

What other thoughts do you have on The Picture of Dorian Gray?


The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

  • May. 31st, 2009 at 8:22 PM
The Picture of Dorian Gray
Oscar Wilde
190 pages (Borders Classics Edition)
Gothic Horror Fiction
Project Gutenberg

Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde (16 October 1854 – 30 November 1900) was an Irish playwright, poet and author of numerous short stories and one novel. Known for his biting wit, 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 Earnest. As the result of a widely covered series of trials, Wilde suffered a dramatic downfall and was imprisoned for two years hard labour after being convicted of "gross indecency" with other men. After Wilde was released from prison he set sail for Dieppe by the night ferry. He never returned to Ireland or Britain. (from Wikipedia)

Reading Schedule
Week 1  - - June 1Chapters 1 - 4
Week 2 - - June 8Chapters 5 - 9
Week 3 - - June 15Chapters 10 - 14
Week 4 - - June 22Chapters 15 - 19

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Don Quixote
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Don Quixote
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