Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Oscar Wilde: Your Actual France

Paris will hold its first major exhibition on the life and work of Oscar Wilde next month, co-curated by his grandson.

Wilde, who spoke fluent French, was an ardent Francophile who regularly visited the city, eventually dying there in 1900, having been hounded out of England after his conviction for homosexuality. His tomb, in Paris’s Père Lachaise cemetery, is now a place of pilgrimage.

Yet the centenary of Wilde’s death – aged just 46 – was not celebrated in France, even though London honoured him with two exhibitions in 2000, at the British Library and the Barbican Centre. The Irish novelist, playwright and poet has only now been given full cultural recognition.

Wilde’s grandson Merlin Holland, who lives in France, told the Guardian: “There has never been a major Paris exhibition on Oscar. Everybody is now saying, ‘well, why not?’ Oscar is going to be plastered all over the Metro and the buses. I think the French are quite surprised … that they never thought of doing this before.” ...


  The Petit Palais exhibition, Oscar Wilde: Insolence Incarnate, runs from September 28th to January 15th.

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