October 16 is a very special date because it’s the birthday anniversary of one of my heroes of literature, the extraordinary Poet, essayist, novelist and playwright Oscar Wilde.
If people ask me what are the 4, most important works of Oscar Wilde that made a huge impact on my life and that I would take to a desert Island, It would be…. “The Picture of Dorian Gray”, “The Importance of Being Earnest”, “Salomé” and “De Profundis”.
“The Picture of Dorian Gray”, (the only novel written by Wilde) probably the most famous and the greatest work by Wilde, it is one of the greatest works in literature and I highly recommend it to read it carefully. It is extremely deep and so true in many things. When I read “The Picture of Dorian Gray” for the first time, I couldn’t stop reading it… chapter after chapter, I read it in an entire day. It was one of the greatest literary experiences that I have ever had. I have to mention that “The Picture of Dorian Gray” has strong themes based on Goethe’s “Faust” and also…. in Charles Maturin’s “Melmoth, the Wanderer”. Charles Maturin was, by the way, Oscar Wilde’s Great-Uncle. If we read both books, we can notice some similarities but yet both are unique, excellent books. By the way, after Oscar Wilde was released from Prison, he used “Sebastian Melmoth” as a pseudonym. Other interesting comparation to “Dorian Gray” is from Book 2 of Plato’s The Republic, with the Ring of Gyges. While Dorian Gray is one of the most fascinating characters in history of literature, I have to mention that also Lord Henry “Harry” Wotton, an hedonism aristocrat who becomes Dorian’s “influence” of “philosophy of life”, vs the good Basil , (the painter of the portrait), who represents the opposite of Henry. Many have discussed that Lord Henry “Harry” represents… “Mephistopheles” for Wilde’s “Dorian Gray”.
“The Importance of Being Earnest” is one of the most delightful plays and I absolutely recommend it to read it very much. I promise that you will enjoy and have the most wonderful time reading this delicious, intelligent comedy. “The Importance of Being Earnest” is a critic of the Victorian society. It has many brilliant quotes and I repeat again, you will have the greatest time of your life reading this masterpiece.
(If I talk about the plot here, it will be useless, my point here is that you all grab the books of Oscar Wilde and read them!)
Oscar Wilde and the Opera….of course Oscar Wilde had a huge link to Opera in different reasons… he mentions “Tannhäuser” and (also”Lohengrin”, in which Lady Wotton, Lord Henry’s wife discusses) in “The Picture of Dorian Gray”. In “The Picture of Dorian Gray”, Dorian feels uncomfortable with the plot of “Tannhäuser” because he identified himself with the title character. And also, we can not forget Wilde’s brilliant play “Salomé” written in French and which later had his brilliant Opera adaptation by Richard Strauss. A very funny thing to mention is that, people in these days still get in shock with this work, both by Wilde’s play and by Strauss’ Opera.
And… “De Profundis” is probably the most moving and most personal of Oscar Wilde.I confess when I read “De Profundis”, I was in tears. “De Profundis” is a personal letter from Oscar Wilde to his former lover Lord Alfred Douglas “Bossie”. Along in the list of writers that wrote during in prison, Cervantes, Dostoievsky and just to name a few. Oscar Wilde’s “De Profundis” was written during his imprisonment in Reading Gaol. If you want to know about Wilde’s life, his thoughts, his biography, among the many meanings of his brilliant literary works, I highly recommend you to read FIRST “De Profundis”. In “De Profundis” Oscar Wilde opens his sould, his heart to Bossie and… to all future readers. If you want to know all about Wilde’s brilliant culture, his brilliant works and also, his tragic life. Please read first “De Profundis”.
(Trivia: De Profundis in Latin is “from the depths”)
I also highly recommend to read his brilliant short stories and also his also brilliant play “Lady Windermere’s Fan”.