Sunday, 29 April 2012


Oscar Wilde was a declared  aesthete (= someone who loves and appreciates works of art and beautiful things) who professed  his views  both in his  works and way of life. His extravagant look and public behaviour aimed at defying the self-satisfied respectability and cheap taste of the Victorian middle and upper classes, their prudery (=moralism) regarding morals, sex, art and their obsession  with status and  money. His views were strongly influenced by  the art critic William Pater, who asserted  the priority of  art and beauty  in individual  and  social life  and the independence of art from  any   moral, political or utilitarian  purpose, that is  the aesthetic doctrine of "art for art's sake"  (i.e., art has no aim but its own  perfection).                                              
Such devotion to the aesthetic-decadent creed was counterbalanced by  the  moral concern,  present  in  all his works,  exposing  contemporary evils.  In fact,  his comedies are only apparently superficial, as they make fun of Victorian moralism (=strictness and austerity especially in matters of religion or conduct), hypocrisy and prejudices in a light, witty  style. Oscar Wilde possessed a deep sense of humanity and  he developed great concern for the poor and the outcast, who were secluded from the safe and optimistic world of rich Victorians; the terrible experience of imprisonment - he was  arrested for “gross indecency with men,” a charge for which he was convicted and sentenced to two years in prison - made his sympathy more intense, as emerges from the long poem The Ballad of Reading Gaol (1898), which contains some very touching lines.  Between January and March 1897, close to the end of his imprisonment, he wrote De  Profundis, a long letter addressed to his lover, Lord Alfred Douglas, published posthumously in 1905. Oscar Wilde spent the last three years of his life in exile. He died at the age of 45 and was buried in Paris.
A contradictory  personality  and versatile (=skillful) artist, Oscar Wilde never enjoyed much favour among contemporary  critics. Only in the course of the 20th  century  he came to be considered  an outstanding  man of letters for the sharp analysis of his time, the skillful (= masterly)  use of the most  different  genres and his brilliant style.

Sunday, 8 April 2012


Easter Wings  
Lord, who createdst man in wealth and store,
Though foolishly he lost the same,
Decaying more and more,
Till he became
Most poor:
With thee
O let me rise
As larks, harmoniously,
And sing this day thy victories:
Then shall the fall further the flight in me.

My tender age in sorrow did begin:
And still with sicknesses and shame
Thou didst so punish sin,
That I became
Most thin.
With thee
Let me combine
And feel this day thy victory:
For, if I imp my wing on thine,
Affliction shall advance the flight in me.

George Herbert