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Interview with Oscar Wilde

Oscar Wilde looking pensive  (1854-1900)

Oscar Wilde looking pensive (1854-1900)

Oscar's father - Sir William Wilde

Oscar's father - Sir William Wilde

Interview with Oscar Wilde

Of all the supernatural interviews I have now conducted (see list at the end), this interview with Oscar Wilde was one of the most challenging.

Yes, I know he died in 1900 at the age of 46, but I have the unique, unexplainable power of interviewing those no longer living. It’s true. Trust me.

Why was this interview so special? Because Oscar – Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde was his full name – was responsible for hundreds of unbelievably wise, witty and unforgettable epigrams or sayings that are still popular today.

And he repeated many of them in answer to my questions. You will find his actual quotes italicized. Read on and you will see what I mean.

Early Years

me – Tell me about your relationship with your parents.

OscarChildren begin by loving their parents; after a time they judge them; rarely, if ever, do they forgive them.”

My father, William Wilde, was an extraordinary man – successful but driven. By the time he was 28, he had become a physician and written two medical books. He was knighted for his work on the Irish Census. He founded St. Mark's Ophthalmic Hospital in Dublin which was built entirely at his own expense. He was renowned throughout Ireland for his skill as an eye surgeon. But he had slovenly habits and gross table manners.

me – Such as . . . ?

Oscar – On several occasions, I saw him taste the soup at a fancy dinner party by using his dirty thumb. (Grimaces)

me – I remember reading some scandal concerning your father before he married your mother.

Oscar – “No man is rich enough to buy back his past.”

Yes, my dad fathered three illegitimate children before he married: Henry, Emily and Mary. But he did provide financial support for all of them. He paid for Henry's education and medical studies and eventually hired him as an assistant. The two girls, unfortunately, died in a fire at the ages of 22 and 24.

Oscar's mother - Jane Francesca Elgee Wilde

Oscar's mother - Jane Francesca Elgee Wilde

This is OSCAR - in a beautiful blue DRESS! Could this have contributed to gender identity issues?

This is OSCAR - in a beautiful blue DRESS! Could this have contributed to gender identity issues?

me – Tell me about your mother.

OscarI see when men love women. They give them but a little of their lives. But women when they love give everything.

My mother, Jane Francesca Elgee Wilde, was a loving, passionate and brilliant intellectual.

I got my tall stature from her – she was six feet tall.

She wrote poems under the pseudonym, “Speranza,” for a weekly Irish newspaper, and was a prominent supporter for Irish independence.

She spoke several languages and translated a famous Gothic horror novel,

“Mothers, of course, are all right. They pay a chap’s bills and don’t bother him. But fathers bother a chap and never pay his bills.”

me – Did you have siblings?

Oscar – I had a brother, two years older, William "Willie" Charles Kingsbury born in 1852, and a younger sister, Isola Emily Francesca.

When she was eight, she died of meningitis.

I was deeply affected by her death, and for the rest of my life, I carried a lock of her hair sealed in an envelope.

I dedicated my poem, “Requiescat” to her memory:

"Tread lightly, she is near … Under the snow … Speak gently, she can hear … the daisies grow …”

Oscar at Trinity College. Is he a dandy or what?

Oscar at Trinity College. Is he a dandy or what?

Education

me – I know you were home-schooled until you were nine by French and German governesses who taught you their languages. And then you attended Portora Royal School in Enniskillen, Fermanagh County – a country village of about 15,000 where you studied the classics.

Were you a good student?

Oscar – Of course. “Anybody can be good in the country. There are no temptations there.”

me – What is the most important lesson you learned at Portora?

Oscar – “Art is the most intense mode of individualism that the world has known. “ Andy Warhol learned that from me.

I received the Royal Scholarship from Portora to attend Trinity College in Dublin where I shared rooms with my brother, Willie, and earned their highest honor, a Foundation Scholarship.

I also won a Gold Medal for Greek and was awarded a scholarship to Magdalen College, Oxford University. I also learned to lose my Irish accent.

Oscar during his "military fashion" period

Oscar during his "military fashion" period

Oscar during his "silk stockings fashion" period

Oscar during his "silk stockings fashion" period

interview-with-oscar-wilde

me – Were you active in the aesthetic/decadent movement popular at the university?

Oscar – “There is only one thing in life worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.”

I became well known and continually talked about for my role in the aesthetic movement. I wore my hair long – the Beatles learned that from me – wore a cape, and carried a fancy cane.

I didn’t care much for masculine sports although I became an excellent boxer. My rooms were decorated with lilies, art objects and blue china.

“I find it harder and harder every day to live up to my blue china.” That quote of mine became famous when adopted by the aesthetes.

me – I notice you are wearing an Egyptian scarab ring on each pinkie finger. Any special significance?

Oscar – I am not particularly superstitious but I believe they aid in avoiding the “evil eye”.

“The world is divided into two classes, those who believe the incredible, and those who do the improbable.

me – What happened when your father died in 1876?

Oscar – I learned, It is better to have a permanent income than to be fascinating.”

Do you remember Henry? my father’s illegitimate son? He paid the mortgage on my family's house and supported them until his sudden death in 1877.

I continued to do well in my studies at Oxford and was awarded a prestigious prize for my poem, “Ravenna.”

After graduation, I moved to London to live with my friend, Frank Miles, a popular high society portrait painter.

In 1881, I published my first collection of poetry titled appropriately but not particularly creatively, “Poems.” It received mixed reviews by the critics,

“I put all my genius into my life; I put only my talent into my works.

Oscar during his "dramatic lecturer" period

Oscar during his "dramatic lecturer" period

Florence Balcombe

Florence Balcombe

Oscar when he married Constance

Oscar when he married Constance

Constance Mary Lloyd Wilde  (1859-1898)

Constance Mary Lloyd Wilde (1859-1898)

Lecturing

me – I understand you delivered a series of lectures on aesthetics in America.

Oscar – When I arrived at the New York seaport, I was asked if I had anything to declare. My response: “I have nothing to declare except my genius.

My four-month 50-lecture tour was so successful it became a one-year tour with me delivering 140 lectures. I met many famous American celebrities including Henry Longfellow, Oliver Wendell Holmes and Walt Whitman. Walt and I became pals – pen pals, that is.

I became a major personality full of myself, like Simon Cowell, because of my sharp wit, creative genius, and flamboyance. Once I hailed a cab in front of my New York hotel to take me to the restaurant . . . across the street. (Laughs)

“I am so clever that sometimes I don't understand a single word of what I am saying.

Love and Marriage

me – If you don’t mind my asking, what was the story with you and the beautiful Florence Balcombe?

OscarWhen a man has once loved a woman he will do anything for her except continue to love her.”

Florence was one of the most beautiful women I had ever met and I proposed marriage to her. She admired my sensitive, from-the-heart poetry and my colorful persona. Unfortunately, her father, Lieutenant Colonel Balcombe, saw no great value in my writing nor me.

He preferred her other suitor, Abraham Stoker, a civil servant and file clerk at the courthouse. What did he like about him? He had been sickly as a child but with strict discipline and athletic endurance “whipped himself into manhood.” That’s what her father told her.

She rejected me and married Bram. Do you know what is so ironic? He became a writer and subsequently wrote “Dracula” – it sold more copies than the Bible. Is it a wonder I became a cynic.

“What is a cynic? A man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.

me – When did you get married?

OscarMen marry because they are tired; women, because they are curious; both are disappointed.

“Niagara Falls is the bride's second great disappointment.”

In 1884, I married Constance Mary Lloyd. She was four years younger than me and the pretty daughter of a wealthy Queen’s Counsel (prominent barrister) who died when she was sixteen. I admired her outspoken, independent mind as well as the fact that she was well-read and spoke several European languages – like me. We had two sons, Cyril and Vyvyan.

“Bigamy is having one wife too many. Monogamy is the same.”

interview-with-oscar-wilde

Career

me -What were you doing to earn a living?

Oscar - Now that I had a family to support, I accepted a job as editor for the “Woman's World” magazine and revitalized it by adding serious articles of advice on culture, politics and parenting.

“The only thing to do with good advice is to pass it on. It is never of any use to oneself.”

me – Why did you leave the magazine?

Oscar – “Work is the curse of the drinking classes.”

The initial excitement wore off and I began writing more. I published two collections of children’s stories: “The Happy Prince and Other Tales” (1888) and “The House of Pomegranates” (1892).
My first and only novel was published, “The Picture of Dorian Gray.” The book’s implied homoerotic theme was considered very immoral by the Victorians of the time.

interview-with-oscar-wilde
Oscar as a BRAND!

Oscar as a BRAND!

Writing for the Theater

me – When did you produce your first play?

Oscar – My first play, “Lady Windermere’s Fan,” opened in February, 1892 and was so successful financially and critically I decided to continue to write for the theater.

“Moderation is a fatal thing. Nothing succeeds like excess.”

In the next three years I wrote three more plays: “A Woman of No Importance” (1893), “An Ideal Husband” (1895), and “The Importance of Being Earnest” (1895). All three plays were highly acclaimed and firmly established me as a respected playwright. Flamboyant, colorful, but still respectable.

My clothing often verged on the outrageous. I had my clothes made by theater costumers instead of tailors.

Me – Why?

Oscar – Because costumers understood the dramatic effect I wanted to achieve. My mother had taught me to view everything in life as a performance. I may have been the first to establish a brand and the brand was ME! Coca-Cola and McDonald’s copied that strategy from me. Soon I became the talk of all England.

“The public is wonderfully tolerant. It forgives everything except genius.”

Robert Baldwin Ross (1869-1918)

Robert Baldwin Ross (1869-1918)

, Lord Alfred Bosie Douglas (1870-1945)

, Lord Alfred Bosie Douglas (1870-1945)

Scandal

me – What happened on the first night that “Lady Windermere’s Fan” was presented?

Oscar“When the gods wish to punish us they answer our prayers.”

I was re-introduced to a handsome young Oxford undergraduate, Lord Alfred “Bosie” Douglas. Homosexual feelings had surfaced in me occasionally since my schooldays. The year my second son was born, I met Robert Baldwin Ross, a young Canadian who had “the face of Puck,” who successfully seduced me and became my first lover.

“The only way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it... I can resist everything but temptation.

On this night, I became immensely attracted to Bosie, a beautiful, dashing and intelligent young man, and began the relationship that ultimately destroyed me. As my literary career flourished, the risk of an immense scandal grew. Victorian society was decidedly anti-homosexual.

“Between men and women there is no friendship possible. There is passion, enmity, worship, love, but no friendship.”

An intimate friendship began – I was infatuated with Bosie – and we were engaged in a tempestuous affair. I was finally earning excellent money from my plays and I indulged his every whim, material and sexual. Soon we became involved in the Victorian underground of gay male prostitutes.

“It was like feasting with panthers; the danger was half the excitement.”

Marquess of Queensberry

Marquess of Queensberry

Queensberry's infamous calling card

Queensberry's infamous calling card

Oscar and Bosie in happier days (and nights)

Oscar and Bosie in happier days (and nights)

Marquess of Queensberry

Me – How did the Marquess of Queensberry become involved?

Oscar “A man can't be too careful in the choice of his enemies.”

The Marquess of Queensberry who created the modern rules of boxing was Bosie’s father. He was an aggressive womanizer and a violent, outspoken atheist who feuded with his son – whom he considered unmanly – on a regular basis.

Queensberry confronted Bosie and me on several occasions about our relationship and finally told me: "I do not say that you are it, but you look it, and pose at it, which is just as bad. And if I catch you and my son again in any public restaurant I will thrash you."

I responded, “I don't know what the Queensberry rules are, but the Oscar Wilde rule is to shoot on sight."

In 1895, everything was brought to a head when Queensberry stormed into my gentleman's club, The Albemarle, and left his card with the porter. It was addressed: “To Oscar Wilde posing Somdomite” (sic). Imagine! He could not even spell the word correctly. I tried to remain calm but realized I was becoming ensnared in a dangerous family quarrel.

“I can stand brute force, but brute reason is quite unbearable. There is something unfair about its use. It is hitting below the intellect.

Oscar in a spiffy white suit

Oscar in a spiffy white suit

interview-with-oscar-wilde

Trial and Prison

me – What happened next?

OscarFathers should be neither seen nor heard. That is the only proper basis for family life.

Bosie, understandably, hated his father and persuaded me to sue the Marquess for criminal libel. Homosexuality was illegal so Queensberry and his attorneys were able to destroy my case at the trial by calling as witnesses “rent boys” (young male prostitutes) who were willing to describe my sexual behavior in court.

"In this world there are only two tragedies. One is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it.

I lost my libel case against Queensberry and was subsequently arrested by the Crown to defend counter charges of “gross indecency” for homosexual conduct. I was convicted and sentenced to two years hard labor, the latter part in Reading Gaol (jail).

On a railroad platform, with rain pouring down while waiting for a train to prison, I told my guards, "If the Queen can't treat her prisoners any better than this, she doesn't deserve to have any."

My cell measured 13 by 7 feet with wooden planks for a bed and I was assigned menial duties while being ridiculed by the guards.

“Ridicule is the tribute paid to the genius by the mediocrities.”

Constance and son, Cyril

Constance and son, Cyril

me – Did Constance, your wife, visit you in prison?

Oscar – I had only one visit from my wife. She came to the prison to inform me that my mother had died. Then I lost custody of my two sons when she took them to Switzerland and changed the family name to Holland. She hoped I would give up Bosie who was now in exile and return to the family.

“The one charm about marriage is that it makes a life of deception absolutely necessary for both parties.”

I was released from prison in 1897 and tried to comply with my wife's wishes. I sent Bosie a long emotional letter explaining why I could never see him again. (Note: This letter was later published by Robert Ross as an essay, “De Profundis,” in 1905).

“One of the many lessons that one learns in prison is, that things are what they are and will be what they will be.

Last Chapter

me – Did you see Bosie again?

Oscar – “What we have to do, what at any rate it is our duty to do, is to revive the old art of Lying.”

I was unable to resist temptation, left England and spent time first with Bosie and then with Ross traveling in Italy and France, staying with friends and living in cheap hotels. My relationship with Bosie ended when my wife and his mother put a stop to our affair by threatening to withdraw our respective allowances.

“When I was young I thought that money was the most important thing in life; now that I am old I know that it is.”

Statue of Oscar in Dublin

Statue of Oscar in Dublin

me - Did you see your wife again?

Oscar - No, Constance fell, underwent spinal surgery, and died in 1898. I was now penniless and in poor health living in Paris. I used the pseudonym, Sebastian Melmoth, the name of my favorite martyr, began to drink heavily, and shunned society and artistic circles as avidly as I had once sought them. One of my most famous poems which I had written in prison, “The Ballad of Reading Gaol,” was published.

For several years I had suffered from serious, painful ear infections exacerbated by being untreated in prison. After surgery, I contracted meningitis and was confined to my seedy hotel room with its seedy wallpaper.

"My wallpaper and I are fighting a duel to the death. One of us has got to go."

One of the last statements I made on my deathbed – while sipping champagne – “And now, I am dying beyond my means.” I left this world on November 30, 1900.

Oscar's tomb in Paris

Oscar's tomb in Paris

Oscar posing in front of interesting sculpture

Oscar posing in front of interesting sculpture

Supernatural Interviews with Dead Celebrities

Footnotes

Wilde was buried in Bagneaux Cemetery but his friend, Robert Ross, had the remains moved to the prestigious Paris cemetery, Pere Lachaise.

His tomb was sculptured by the famous American artist, Jacob Epstein. Fifty years later, the remains of his longtime friend, Ross, were placed in his tomb.

The elaborate headstone – a winged, naked and initially well-hung angel – was considered so offensive that the cemetery's chief administrator “castrated” it and for several years used the genitalia as a paperweight. (Oscar would have loved this gesture.)

The object in question was later restored to the angel, but stolen during the 60s.

In the early 90s, the family of Wilde's executor, Robert Ross, paid for restoration work and a plaque at the base of the tomb which reads (in English and French): “Respect the memory of Oscar Wilde and do not deface this tomb. It is protected by law as an historical monument and was restored in 1992."

Two exceptional films were made about Wilde’s life: “The Trials of Oscar Wilde” (1960) starring Peter Finch, and “Wilde” (1997) starring Stephen Fry as Wilde and Jude Law as Bosie.

Numerous books and articles have been written about Oscar Wilde, reflecting on the life and contributions of this unconventional author since his death more than a hundred years ago.

A celebrity in his own time, Wilde’s indelible influence remains as strong as ever and his quips, quotes, poems, plays, epigrams and essays still shine.

Among my many Wilde favorites are: “Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go.”

“The old believe everything, the middle-aged suspect everything, the young know everything.”

"It's not whether you win or lose, it's how you place the blame."

Sources:

Belford, Barbara. "Oscar Wilde: A Certain Genius." 2000. Ellman, Richard. ”Oscar Wilde.” New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1988. Jullian, Philipe. “Oscar Wilde.“ New York: The Viking Press, 1969. McKenna, Neil. “The Secret Life of Oscar Wild.” Century: Random House. 2003.

© Copyright BJ Rakow Ph.D. 2011. All rights reserved. Author, "Much of What You Know about Job Search Just Ain't So."


Comments for Interview with Oscar Wilde

drbj and sherry (author) from south Florida on November 26, 2015:

I emphatically agree with you, Docmo. Wilde and Twain are two of my favorites as well when quoting the authors of pithy sayings. Thanks for your kind comments. Hope all is well with you on the other side of the pond.

Mohan Kumar from UK on May 31, 2012:

Fantabulous! I remember reading 'The Happy Prince' at school and was blown away by its elegaic beauty. He is certainly my favorite in pithy quotes and witticism ( on par with Twain) I love this interview series and you're at your topmost here!

drbj and sherry (author) from south Florida on April 09, 2012:

Roger. I mean Oscar!

Oscarwildefanclub on April 09, 2012:

That will be great just add a dot com to my username and you will find the website in its current state, well ten year old state all flash based with music at the start and everything, think of it as a trip back to the sixties in music terms.

drbj and sherry (author) from south Florida on April 08, 2012:

Nice to make your acquaintance, Oscarwildefanclub. Delighed you enjoyed this interview with our mutual friend, Oscar. The answer to your question - absolutely. It would be my pleasure to have you link to this hub. Just let me know in a comment.

Oscarwildefanclub on April 08, 2012:

wow I really enjoyed this piece, you picked the perfect person for the piece

Can I link to this article when I finish redesigning the Oscar Wilde fanclub website?

drbj and sherry (author) from south Florida on September 20, 2011:

Welcome, Textured Ideas. What a coincidence that you are watching Dorian Gray while reading this hub. That does add to the mood, doesn't it?

Oscar's quotes have always been among my favorites so you can imagine what fun it was to weave them into the story of his life. Thank you for appreciating my efforts and don't apologize for getting excited. Excitement is good. You take care, too.

Textured Ideas on September 18, 2011:

I'm watching Dorian Gray on DVD right now so I felt it was apt to do a search for Oscar on here. I'm so pleased I came across this hub, very clever and fun! I haven't seen most of those photos of him before, they're amazing. Yes, dear Oscar was very fascinating and it's curious how his words still apply strongly today and always will because he nailed the true nature of society - a timeless mind indeed.

I think we all have cerebral conversations with the dead when we read their words, it's a strange thing how we interact with someone's thoughts from another time through literature and you really brought that idea to life. Thanks for sharing this.

Anyway, sorry for going on. I got a bit excited there...

I look forward to reading more of your hubs =) Take care.

drbj and sherry (author) from south Florida on June 16, 2011:

Awesome and voted up? Thank you, visionandfocus, and welcome to my supernatural interview world. Do visit the others and let me know what you think.

Yes, Oscar was fascinating and one of a kind and wasn't the Bram Stoker thing a curious coincidence?

visionandfocus from North York, Canada on June 15, 2011:

What a fascinating interview with a fascinating man! Awesome hub! Voted up! I had no idea of his connection with Bram Stoker, or that THE famous Bram Stoker was a civil servant and a file clerk and Wilde's 'rival' in love.

drbj and sherry (author) from south Florida on May 05, 2011:

Nice to meet you, Jason. Delighted you found this interesting. For more great interviews with undead celebrities, visit my hubs in the link above.

JasonPLittleton on May 05, 2011:

It's interesting, Great articles.

drbj and sherry (author) from south Florida on March 29, 2011:

It's interesting, TL, that you saw the young girl in my avatar first. About 3/4 of those who view this illusion see the old crone first. It does mean something - sweet and optimistic perhaps - but I can't say for sure. Yet!

But appreciative, yes. Thanks for the 'quality' comment.

Twilight Lawns from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. on March 27, 2011:

By the way, your avatar is the first I have seen in colour. I have only seen the line drawing before... strange experience seeing and recognising it, but still having to work out the "other" picture. I saw the girl first. Shows my sweet optimistic nature (Ha!)

And yes! I'm certainly coming back. I like quality.

drbj and sherry (author) from south Florida on March 26, 2011:

It's a pleasure to meet you Twilight Lawns - interesting profile name. Thank you for the most gracious comments, the Up and the Useful. Feel free to visit any time.

When I first saw that photo of Oscar in the blue dress, I thought it was his sister. But my sources insist that was Oscar, blue dress and all. Custom or not, it may not be healthy to dress boys in girls' clothing - at any age.

Twilight Lawns from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. on March 26, 2011:

A fascinating, well researched and learned hub, Incidentally, your comment beneath the picture of Oscar in the blue dress: "This is OSCAR - in a beautiful blue DRESS! Could this have contributed to gender identity issues?"

Yes, it could have contributed to his gender identity; but not the fact that he was wearing a dress; all little boys of that class and above wore dresses well into the Twentieth Century, but at that time, and from really early in British History, PINK was the colour for boys, whereas BLUE was the colour for girls.

Rated UP and USEFUL

drbj and sherry (author) from south Florida on March 17, 2011:

Hi, tki. Thank you for your very special comment - I do appreciate your gracious words. I'm happy, too, to have this supernatural interviewing skill. Look for more Interviews with Undead Celebrities coming soon. Thanks for the up and the funny, too.

toknowinfo on March 17, 2011:

I loved this hub. You have a great sense of humor and a very special way to deliver information. Glad you have this supernatural and natural ability. Thanks for a truly enjoyable read. Rated up and funny.

drbj and sherry (author) from south Florida on March 14, 2011:

Thank you docmo for the pleasurable praise - "genius of this form"? How eloquent and accurate of you. Humility is NOT my middle name.

Love that you love this format - I'm fond of it, too, and will continue as long as the muse is nearby. And thanks for the ups.

Yes, I did appreciate your clever take on Wilde's "Importance ..." You are clever, too, my friend.

Mohan Kumar from UK on March 14, 2011:

drbj, you are genius of this form- the way you incorporated my favourite writers quotes and epigrams within the context is brilliant! I am completely in love with this format. Truly brilliant and I learn so much from each one. As you may have guessed my latest' The earnestness of being an Imp' is a riff on Wilde's play title! voted up, up and above!

drbj and sherry (author) from south Florida on March 06, 2011:

Thank you, Chatkath, for finding Oscar and me - we are ever so grateful. (Oscar asked me to convey his gratitude.)

Yes, I have discovered this supernatural gift for interviewing the celebrity undead, so to speak, and will be delighted to have you peruse the other 10 hubs in this series. Do let me know what you think. :)

Kathy from California on March 06, 2011:

Wow - there is so much about dear Oscar that I never knew! I am so glad that you have this gift of communicating with the dearly departed, especially those with such colorful lives. I am anxious to read your other interviews. Very well done !!

drbj and sherry (author) from south Florida on March 05, 2011:

So nice to see you here, Cassy, thank you for stopping by. Me, too. Oscar is one of my favorites because of his wonderful wit and inspired quotes.

Churchill was clever, also; I save many of his fascinating quotes, too.

Hugs for the 'great hubs as always' comment. You know the way to my heart. :)

Cassandra Mantis from UK and Nerujenia on March 04, 2011:

Oscar is one of my all-time favorite authors. He was truly gifted. Churchill - I remember from history - was once asked - of all the writers in the world that had lived, which one would he most like to meet, and Churchill replied "Oscar Wilde".

Great hubs, drbj! As always!

drbj and sherry (author) from south Florida on March 02, 2011:

Thank you, 25, both for visiting and being a fellow Wilde admirer. You got that right - Oscar was an amazing talent. And thank you for enjoying the interview. Entirely my pleasure, you know.

twentyfive on March 01, 2011:

I love his quotes. Amazing man! :) Very nice interview my friend :)

drbj and sherry (author) from south Florida on February 26, 2011:

Hello, Debbie, so nice to have you visit again. I'm delighted you enjoyed reading this. I, too, have been a lifelong fan of Oscar and his witticisms. His incisive quotes have always been among my favorites.

Thank you for your very gracious comments. Making these famous people "come to life" is one of my favorite things to do and it is most rewarding to know that readers enjoy the fruits of my labors. Thank you for 'loving it.'

I did see Stephen Fry in the "Wilde" film and his portrayal of Oscar was superb.

debbiesdailyviews on February 26, 2011:

Oh my , What beauty !

I can't tell you just how very much I enjoyed reading this.

Osc, as I like to call him, as I am an avid life long fan,( and I feel I know him now even better )

would be very happy of his interview with you, putting him in print now , once again.

You really did make him come to life. Thank you

And just to add...

You mentioned our very own Stephen Fry. He is our modern day Oscar Wild, and very proud we are of him too.

Please consider Quintin Crisp in a future interview. As there was an inspiring life story indeed .

Thank you for all your hard work on this hub, and you have been nicely compliment from us reader's. Very well deserved.

Loved it loved it loved it x

drbj and sherry (author) from south Florida on February 21, 2011:

Nice to meet you, Sembj, especially since we share the same two letters of the alphabet and you admired my 'weaving' of Oscar's wit into the narrative.

Please do follow my work and take a look at the other supernatural interviews I have listed above in the link at the end of the hub. Let me know what you, a fellow 'bj', thinks.

Sembj on February 20, 2011:

Great Hub. It is difficult to appreciate the sheer brilliance of his wit. A lot of his work still works surprisingly well and is very funny. Thanks for the clever weaving of his wit into the article. I'll be following your future work.

drbj and sherry (author) from south Florida on February 16, 2011:

Delighted you enjoyed this, Jane. Yes, Oscar was quite dramatic in his mode of dress. Almost the Lord Gag Gag of his time.

I knew you would be fond of Wilde and Twain - after all, great minds run ... etc., etc.

Jane Bovary from The Fatal Shore on February 15, 2011:

Fantastic choice drbj...really enjoyed this. Snappy dresser wasn't he..?

Between Wilde and Mark Twain you can find enough witty remarks to last a lifetime. They're my 'most quoted' people too...I don't now what I'd do with out them.

Cheers

drbj and sherry (author) from south Florida on February 14, 2011:

Welcome, Colin. If Oscar Wilde was the king of epigrams in the Victorian world, then surely you have earned that title in today's world.

And you are so right. He lived in the wrong time. Today he would be everywhere in the media with an adoring public encouraging rather than jailing him.

That was surely a treat, seeing Vincent as Oscar Wilde. I always admired Price as an actor so can imagine how delightful that show must have been.

Thank you for being such a loyal fan - you and your sublime comments are always appreciated. Happy Day of the Valentine.

epigramman on February 14, 2011:

..Oscar Wilde, as a man, was in the wrong place at the wrong time - if he were alive today - he would be doing 'Larry King live' and the talk show and book circuit with nary an eye lash batting at his 'gayness' - and on that note I saw Vincent Price years ago at Hamilton Place do a one man show on Oscar Wilde - and yes your 'interview' series is still the BEST THING going at the Hub!!! Bravo, once again!!!!!

drbj and sherry (author) from south Florida on February 14, 2011:

Hi, Art. I'm not at all surprised that Oscar's quote: “Art is the most intense mode of individualism that the world has known," strikes a chord with you.

You demonstrate that intense individualism with every tattoo hub you create. Thanks for saying Wilde would be proud about this hub. I do appreciate that.

drbj and sherry (author) from south Florida on February 14, 2011:

Ken, you did me proud with your visit and your sublime comments. I do look forward to your arrival on my hubs.

I went back to look at that last photo of Oscar, and he does seem to have a faint smile on his face - or maybe he's just feeling smug about the additional publicity.

I always thought it somewhat ironic that Oscar's first love chose to marry the creator of Dracula - I guess she definitely had a thing for unique writers.

I agree with you and Chris that Oscar was way ahead of his time. Can you imagine how productive he might be in today's world?

Funny you should mention Queen Victoria - I had toyed with the idea of 'interviewing' her but I may have already done too much damage to the Crown with my 'interview' with Jack the Ripper.

Thank you for your gracious adjectives and you can 'caress my buttons' any time. Happy Valentine's Day to you and yours. :)

TattoGuy on February 14, 2011:

“Art is the most intense mode of individualism that the world has known. “

I couldn't agree more lol, great hub as ever. Wilde was a total genius who deff would be proud of this hub about him.

saddlerider1 on February 13, 2011:

Simply brilliant piece of work, you did Oscar Wilde proud. A grin came onto his face below the winged angel well hung or not:-) You marvel me with your interviews, what a fantastic read, so much I did not know about Oscar. One that he did not marry his first wife due to her father forcing the issue to marry Bram Stoker of Dracula fame.

He was so right, I believe the Bible and Dracula are competing with one another:-) I think Dracula took a bite out of the Bible's sales. Yes I agree with Chris, Oscar was ahead of his times, like so many talented artists were in their periods.

It's sad that he was born into the Victorian age, they most definitely were a stuffy lot and certainly frowned on alternate lifestyles. However one wonders what the Old Queen's tastes really were:0)

I enjoyed this read and savored every word and video, thank you my well written friend, you are simply brilliant and I applaud your genius. I rated this work way beyond UP and caressed all your buttons...

drbj and sherry (author) from south Florida on February 13, 2011:

I def agree, Micky. Wilde was the king of quotes. He is one of my favorite quote makers together with Mark Twain and Will Rogers.

I particularly like the 'clever' quote you mentioned. Me, too. I am particularly delighted that my story-telling fascinates you. May it ever be thus. And no thanks are necessary; the pleasure is all mine! :)

drbj and sherry (author) from south Florida on February 13, 2011:

Congrats, ml, on your distinguished accomplishment with Flashplayer.

Now you can be a video groupie like the rest of us. You will enjoy the Wilde videos. Promise.

drbj and sherry (author) from south Florida on February 13, 2011:

Hi, Martie, I did a little more research on the custom of dressing boys as girls. I learned that dresses for boys were quite common in the early 1900s. It was merely a custom to dress your young son in a beautiful dress. No one seemed to think there was anything negative about this practice.

I also learned that young Afghan girls often dress themselves as boys and cut their hair short so they can enjoy the freedom their young male contemporaries enjoy.

If I find any info relating to boys dressed as girls to avoid 'bad spirits,' I will let you know forthwith.

BTW, thanks a heap for the 'brilliant' - your check is in the mail.

Micky Dee on February 13, 2011:

“I am so clever that sometimes I don't understand a single word of what I am saying.” That must be me drbj. He was certainly a king of quotes. But the way you have of telling a story fascinates me. I had to watch every video. Thank you!

mysterylady 89 from Florida on February 12, 2011:

I was so excited that I was finally able to download the latest version of Flashplayer. I could watch the videos!

Martie Coetser from South Africa on February 12, 2011:

DRBJ, some nation believed that boys have to be dressed like girls for the first two-three years of their lives to keep a specific ‘bad’ spirit away. I’ve learned this while I was studying mythology... but, of course, I can’t remember the exact facts any more. Perhaps it will pop out of that brilliant mind of yours?

drbj and sherry (author) from south Florida on February 12, 2011:

Nice to meet you, beccas. Thank you for stopping by and enjoying the read.

Oscar did live in an exciting, though very prudish, era. It's interesting to speculate what else he might have accomplished if he were living in today's world.

drbj and sherry (author) from south Florida on February 12, 2011:

You are on the mark, Audrey, that blue dress was a terrible choice. A pink dress would have brought out his eyes.

Is it any wonder that Oscar was different that most? As you pointed out, his parents were truly unique personalities who cared little what others or society thought.

"Spoiled," you say. Of course he was. He never really earned the fortune that he spent. Although his plays were very profitable, he spent lavishly on his amours at the time.

As far as asking for a loan, he did. But I didn't have a tuppence on me.

Thank you, m'dear, for enjoying and chuckling and noticing the comments under the photos. You are a treasure, ya know. And 'dang cute.'

drbj and sherry (author) from south Florida on February 12, 2011:

Hello, Martie.

You are so right - death by fire must be one of the most horrible ways to perish. Isn't there a saying about the "sins of the father being visited on the children?"

Oscar was very perceptive and the quotes that seem to be meaningless did make sense to those living in that era. As for his mother putting him in a dress, perhaps that was her unfulfilled desire to have a girl child. Her daughter wasn't born yet. Oscar told me his mother was a very strong, impetuous and domineering personality whom he dearly loved.

Yes, he was a rare personality, a genius, and much too full of himself. In fact, he was the first to admit it. He labeled himself as a genius in many of his quotes. He was no shrinking violet.

Don't know who I will interview next; I seem to be running out of geniuses, gangsters, female spies and conquerors.

Thanks as always, m'luv, for being so supportive. You take care, too.

drbj and sherry (author) from south Florida on February 12, 2011:

Hi, Wesman.

Thank you for the "Awesome Job' and 'witty' comment. Now that makes two of us subscribing to that belief!

Have been wanting to ask you - your given name is unique - is it a family name? Just wonderin'.

drbj and sherry (author) from south Florida on February 12, 2011:

Thank you, sweet mysterylady, for being taught and entertained - two of my favorite things to do. But you already know that.

Delighted you enjoyed the Biography videos and thanks for appreciating my working Oscar's quips into the narrative. That was the most difficult part of the interview - for me. Not for Oscar; quotes just roll off his tongue.

I'm fond of that Dorian cartoon, too; do reread the book if you can. :)

beccas90 from New York on February 11, 2011:

This was a good read. I think Oscar lived in exactly the right time for him.

Audrey Kirchner from Washington on February 10, 2011:

Sad waste of a pretty blue dress....yikes. No wonder the poor fellow had problems! What mother in her right mind would put him in that kind of get-up? Sounds like his father might have been a wee bit on the talented but obsessed side as well.

No excuses though - he sounds like he may have been a tad spoiled to say the least and more than a tad confused. I'm surprised he let you leave with your dignity, BJ and did not hit you up for a loan!

Marvelous as always and thanks for the chuckles - especially some of your comments with the pics....too dang cute.

Martie Coetser from South Africa on February 10, 2011:

How horrible – to die in a fire!

Some of Oscar’s Wilde anecdotes are shockingly true, but others seem to make no sense at all! Why on earth did his mother dress him in dresses? Are we sure that is not a picture of his sister?

Wilde was a rare personality, definitely a genius, but perhaps too full of himself?

Thanks again, DRBJ, for a most interesting review. Take care and good luck with your next interview.

Wesman Todd Shaw from Kaufman, Texas on February 10, 2011:

Awesome Job!!! Too bad so few of his modern templates are quite so witty, well, except maybe you :-D

mysterylady 89 from Florida on February 10, 2011:

Another winner, drbj! I have been taught and entertained. Thank you for the Biography videos and for working into your interview those wonderful Wilde quips. The cartoon is priceless as is your choice of pictures. I may have to reread "The Picture of Dorian Gray."

drbj and sherry (author) from south Florida on February 10, 2011:

Hi, Amillar.

Thank you for loving this interview.

Yes, Oscar was a rare bird and extremely talented. I'll have to share with him that beautiful comment you made about enriching humanity. He would appreciate it.

And I appreciate your comment, "Another gem." Thank you.

drbj and sherry (author) from south Florida on February 10, 2011:

Hello, Alicia. Nice to have you visit.

Thank you for finding my interview with Oscar a "fascinating look at a very colorful character." Yes, he was and way, way ahead of his time. Thank you also for loving the quotes and the photos. Come back - any time. :)

drbj and sherry (author) from south Florida on February 10, 2011:

Hi, Ruby. Thank you for enjoying this interview.

Yes, Oscar lived in the wrong time. He would have felt so much more loved and accepted in today's world. And would probably have been around much longer than his 46 years to author many more of his insightful, truthful and witty quips.

"People are what they are." You are a philosopher, my girl.

Thanks are not necessary. The pleasure, believe me, was all mine. Cheers backatcha.

drbj and sherry (author) from south Florida on February 10, 2011:

Hi, sweet katie.

I am so delighted I brought Oscar Wilde to life for you. And that you enjoyed the amazing photos.

It was my very great pleasure to enrich your knowledge of his fantastic talent. And thank you with all my heart for that lovely comment which you know I will quote in its entirety: "Once again YOU are the best of the best!" That is a lovely compliment. And you know, it works both ways. :)

drbj and sherry (author) from south Florida on February 10, 2011:

Thank you, darski, for visiting and loving this hub.

You laughed and you cried? Wow, what a compliment - it makes all the research worth while.

Thanks for the 'great writer' compliment and the up rating. Now I'll have to live up to it, dear. :)

drbj and sherry (author) from south Florida on February 10, 2011:

You and I are on the same page, Hillary. We both believe that Wilde was "one of the world's great talents."

I like your description of him as "one of Victoria's bad boys ... as well as an iconoclastic gay crusader." Oscar had style, class and bravado. Too bad he didn't live in today's world. It would have been far easier for him.

Thank you for enjoying this read and particularly for loving "the way (I) incorporated the quotes into the interview." That was a challenge I really enjoyed, too.

"Y'all come back now, you heah!" :)

amillar from Scotland, UK on February 10, 2011:

I loved this one. His kind is so rare - and they enrich humanity.

Another gem.

drbj and sherry (author) from south Florida on February 10, 2011:

As 'Master/Mistress of the postmortem interview', Will, I thank you for the (Wilde) phrase. :)

drbj and sherry (author) from south Florida on February 10, 2011:

It seems I may have struck a nerve with this Interview, dimi dear, but I would never, never erase one of your comments. Unless of course, you used language like "$@*&^-@@($*&!$%@*&**!

Frank Harris was a long-time acquaintance who was friendly with Oscar at the beginning and the end of his life but not in between. He wrote a biography, "Oscar Wilde: His Life and Confessions" (1916) which was found to be sometimes factually inaccurate as well as wildly (Wilde-ly) exaggerated.

Reviewers found that Harris often reported he was present at events when he could not have been. His biography of Wilde often revealed malicious and imaginative speculation.

It's true that Oscar considered his American lectures to be a triumph but did not share with me the amount he was paid.

When he worked as an editor, he admitted the pay would not have supported him and his family in the style they were accustomed to. Throughout his life - and he was the first to admit it - he lived "on the kindness of others." His father supported him until he died and then his mother took over. His wife contributed to his support until the day she died. And Bosie's mother contributed for as long as their liaison lasted.

Do I admire that about Oscar? Of course not. What I do admire and I will use your words: "There is no doubt that he was a genius ... Later his genius managed to shine through and his contribution to literature was, indeed, great."

His wit, his writing, his quips and quotes - that is what I admire. And you may be right, dimi, "People shall remember him a thousand years from now."

BTW, Frank Harris wrote a 4-volume autobiography titled, "My Life and Loves" so scandalous and pornographic he had to self-publish it in France. Booksellers at the time sold it 'under the counter.' Do we remember Frank Harris? Doubtful!

drbj and sherry (author) from south Florida on February 10, 2011:

I knew we had a lot in common, psychicdog, because Oscar has always been one of my favorites, too, and I am constantly using or quoting his witty epigrams.

Thanks for finding this interview 'interesting and truly amazing.'

Oscar was an amazing fellow.

drbj and sherry (author) from south Florida on February 10, 2011:

Hi, Sylvia. It's my pleasure to make your acquaintance. Especially since you find Oscar "cool, love this hub and find it intelligent, witty, awesome and entertaining." Just like you and me. Thanks for visiting. Let me know what you think of my other 9 supernatural Interviews. :)

drbj and sherry (author) from south Florida on February 10, 2011:

Good morning, Christopher. Thank you for enjoying my 'well researched and written "interview"'. It's my pleasure.

And thank you for catching that 'airport' boo-boo. Wilde may have been a lot of things but I don't believe he was prescient. I changed airport to seaport since he arrived in the U.S. at the time on a ship, the Arizona, and not in a plane.

Me, too. I have long been a Wilde fan and even used one of his funniest quips and my favorite quote on page 3 of my book: "Much of What You Know about Job Search Just Ain't So."

The quote: "If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they'll kill you." As you pointed out, he was a man ahead of his time.

drbj and sherry (author) from south Florida on February 10, 2011:

Hi, hello.

Have I told you lately how much I appreciate your always stopping by? No? Then I'm a selfish boor. I do, I do! Thank you for enjoying all this information about Oscar. The pleasure is all mine.

drbj and sherry (author) from south Florida on February 10, 2011:

Hi, Kindacrazy - thanks for stopping by and finding this 'interesting reading and marvelous job.' Me, too. No false humility here. And thanks for the up rating. :)

drbj and sherry (author) from south Florida on February 10, 2011:

Hi, dali8, nice to meet you. Thanks for visiting.

Yes, Oscar's quote: "Some cause happiness wherever they go - others whenever they go," is one of my all-time favorites, too. I included it on this hub hidden away in the penultimate paragraph.

drbj and sherry (author) from south Florida on February 10, 2011:

Isn't it great, susie, to learn more about these infamous but dead celebrities I find to interview? I get surprised myself.

Oscar was unique in more than one way. He had a sense of style - sometimes bizarre - and tremendous bravado. Like Lady Gaga!

Thank you for appreciating my communications with, shall we say, the undead. It's my pleasure to share. :)

drbj and sherry (author) from south Florida on February 10, 2011:

You are spot on, Lela, Oscar was a very witty, clever, interesting fellow. And brave - considering the strict Victorian society in which he lived.

Thank you for enjoying having discovered more about him.

drbj and sherry (author) from south Florida on February 10, 2011:

Hi, Lynda. Thanks for being fascinated by my 'dead people' interviews.

To answer your question, yes, I have always had this clairvoyant and supernatural ability to converse with those who are no longer here. I didn't learn I had that skill though - don't tell anyone - till I stopped taking my meds! :)

drbj and sherry (author) from south Florida on February 10, 2011:

Hi, cceerpp. So nice to meet you. Your profile name intrigues me. Is it an acronym? Like: clever courageous exciting energetic realistic perceptive person?

Must be so because you found this interview 'beautiful and interesting.' Thank you.

drbj and sherry (author) from south Florida on February 10, 2011:

Hi, Feline Prophet. What a great lead-in you wrote: "I knew this would be entertaining even before I read it!" Thank you.

Yes, Oscar was witty, no doubt about it - one of the reasons I so often use one of his quotes. Which I attribute to him. . . so far.

Thank you also, FP, for finding my supernatural interviews enlightening. That's my goal: entertainment and enlightenment. And I enjoy learning so much more about these infamous celebrities when I take the time to research them. As for who's next? I haven't a clue! :)

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on February 09, 2011:

Your interview with Oscar Wilde was a fascinating look at a very colorful character. I loved the quotations and the photos, too.

drbj and sherry (author) from south Florida on February 09, 2011:

Yes, Christopher, Oscar was definitely ahead of his time. He was unique. He was brave. And he lived his life as he wished. As you pointed out, that would still be difficult today in many areas of the world.

Thank you for being a loyal visitor, commenter and for the "awesome."

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on February 09, 2011:

This was another great interview. It's a shame that he lived in that era. People are who they are. Acceptance is the key. His quotes were not only witty, but truthful in many ways. I thoroughly enjoyed your interview. Thank you.

Cheers

Katie McMurray from Westerville on February 09, 2011:

WOW and what amazing photos to bring your interview to life. I was not familiar with Oscar Wilde until now. Thank you for enriching my reference. :) Katie

Once again YOU are the best of the best!

Darlene Sabella from Hello, my name is Toast and Jam, I live in the forest with my dog named Sam ... on February 09, 2011:

What a story, I love this hub I had no idea about this mans life...I laughed and I cried. This is such a great way to meet people that come from a different time. You are a great writer. rate up up love & peace darski

Hillary from Atlanta, GA on February 09, 2011:

A joy to read and a tribute to one of the world's great talents. Your piece only bolsters my admiration for the man. Wilde lived during a time of intolerance and ignorance and fell prey to the wolves. Yes, he was one of Victoria's bad boys, but he was also an important iconoclast; one of history's first gay crusaders. I can't think of another in that time who managed to make a financial success of themselves being openly gay. Can you imagine what great works he would have accomplished had he not been cut down in his prime?

This is one of your best doc and I love the way you incorporated the quotes into the interview. Well done.

WillStarr from Phoenix, Arizona on February 09, 2011:

"I love that phrase. I'll probably use it in the future."

Be my guest. Think of it as a postmortem 'Wilde' quote. :-)

drbj and sherry (author) from south Florida on February 09, 2011:

Hello, Will. "Master of the postmortem interview?" I love that phrase. I'll probably use it in the future. Thank you for that and the "Well done." :)

De Greek from UK on February 09, 2011:

According to Frank Harris, a long time friend and loyal supporter of his (both morally and financially) Oscar's initial attempts at literature, he had systematically plagiarized. His trip to America was so unoriginal that once the crowd got over his silk stockings, they stopped showing up and the trip had to be cut short. He did make a couple of hundred pounds after expenses though and this he considered to be a triumph.

Later his genius managed to shine through and his contribution to literature was, indeed, great.

It is not true that he worked in order to support his family. He lived on the small private income of his wife, whom he married for the purpose. The money he made subsequently, he squandered on male prostitutes et al and his wife quietly supported him even after he was released from jail. He showed no regrets after she died, other than in loosing her financial support.

There is no doubt that he was a genius. But reading his biography, I feel only contempt for the ingrate person he was and no witty phrase of his can raise him in my poor estimation. People shall remember him a thousand years from now and they will forget me one year after I am gone, but I would not change places with him for a second :-)

Feel free to erase this sweetheart :-))

psychicdog.net on February 09, 2011:

I've always loved Oscar Wilde quotes so it was very interesting to read little known details about his life. thanks drbj - trually amazing interview.

Sylvia Leong from North Vancouver (Canada) on February 09, 2011:

Love this Hub! Intelligent, witty, awesome & very entertaining.

Oscar was cool too.

Christopher Price from Vermont, USA on February 09, 2011:

This was another well researched and written "interview"...very enjoyable.

When Wilde arrived in New York and said "I have nothing to declare except my genius" he certainly must have meant it...having found an airport ten years before the Wright Brother's first flight! Genius indeed!

I have always been a fan of Oscar. He truly was a man ahead of his time.

CP

Hello, hello, from London, UK on February 09, 2011:

A great article and well done including all these information about Wilde's life I never knew so much. Thank you for giving me that pleasure.

Kindacrazy from Tennessee on February 09, 2011:

Very interesting reading and you did a marvelous job. Voted up

Wolfgang G. Greiner from Germany on February 09, 2011:

"Some cause happiness wherever they go - others whenever they go"... (Oscar Wilde)

Sweetsusieg from Michigan on February 09, 2011:

The things I didn't know!! I have to say he sure was a cutie! It's a shame he swung the other way, but then those of his persuasion could say the same about Brad Pitt.

One would think that those who attribute certain freedom's to their predecessors, aren't thanking Oscar Wilde for his contribution in the same fashion.

I am so glad that you are able to communicate to such a degree with the dead!!! We are learning so much about those who have passed before us and made such an impact!

Thank you for sharing!!

Lela from Somewhere near the heart of Texas on February 09, 2011:

I didn't even know I should be interested in Oscar Wilde, but after reading this interview, I see a very interesting man. Clever and witty he was!

lmmartin from Alberta and Florida on February 09, 2011:

Another fascinating read for my morning coffee. You are so fortunate to have these dead people confiding in you. Tell me, have you always had the ability to see beyond the grave? Thanks. Lynda

cceerpp from Ghana on February 09, 2011:

Beautiful Interview with Oscar indeed. Interesting hub.

Feline Prophet on February 09, 2011:

I knew this would be entertaining even before I read it! Don't you wish you had actually thought up some of the things he said? :D

Your interviews are so enlightening, drbj - so often we think we know all about a famous person and then realise we only know the most basic information. Who's next? :)

Christopher Antony Meade from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom on February 08, 2011:

Poor old Oscar. He was ahead of his time then, and in some places still, now.

That was his tragedy.

At least now some parts of the world has advanced.

Thank you for another awesome hub.

WillStarr from Phoenix, Arizona on February 08, 2011:

You are the master of the postmortem interview.

Well done.