The Fall of the House of Wilde review – Oscar’s family misfortunes

This post is by Ian Thomson from Books | The Guardian

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Emer O’Sullivan traces the journey of the literary giant’s family from riches to ragsOscar (Fingal O’Flahertie) Wilde, the self-adoring dandy of Victorian letters, toured America in 1882 with a trunkful of lace-trimmed velvet coats and low-cut Byronic blouses. “If I were alone on a desert island and had my things,” the 27-year-old Dublin-born aesthete declared, “I would dress for dinner every night.” From New York to Colorado, audiences went wild for Oscar, whose applications of rouge and dyed green carnation buttonholes were so unlike anything worn by cowboys. The 6ft 3in Irishman had yet to write the great works that made him famous (The Importance of Being Earnest, The Picture of Dorian Gray, The Ballad of Reading Gaol). Yet by turning himself into a commodity he was able to be famous merely for being famous. Without Wilde’s very modern genius for self-promotion, conceivably, there ...