Sunday, 5 October 2014

Oscar Wilde: Nonce!

Next year marks the 120th anniversary of the playwright, wit and poet’s conviction for gross indecency with a string of young men, which saw him sentenced to two years’ imprisonment. More than a century later the details of his downfall have lost none of their power to fascinate and shock. What is more, the recent trials for sexual offences of high-profile figures from Rolf Harris to Max Clifford have lent the Wilde case a dubious kind of lustre, giving it the status of what Wilde’s grandson, Merlin Holland, recently described as “one of the very first celebrity trials”. In a timely move, a new play co-written by Holland and opening in London next week gives us an opportunity to review it...

The Independent On Sunday - sans irony - wonders how Oscar Wilde would have fared in our Operation Yewtree age of paedomania, and pronounces him GUILTY!!

Antony Edmonds, author of a new biography, Oscar Wilde's Scandalous Summer, is quoted;

"He certainly paid for sex with youths under the age of 18 which is a criminal offence. But even if his activities had led only to exposure and not to arrest, he would have been savagely pilloried in the media. Wilde was 39 when he seduced Alphonse Conway, and Conway was an inexperienced boy of 16. I’m sure that Wilde’s plays would have been taken off the stage just as quickly today as they were in 1895.”

How sad, how true...

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