Sunday, January 03, 2010

A post-Miller reading of De Profundis

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Adelaide Dupont said...

I love Oscar Wilde.

I haven't read him for a while, but during 1997-1998 holidays, I decided to for the first time.

It all started with Richard Ellman (there was the movie with Stephen Fry at that time) and then there were the plays, especially The Importance of Being Earnest.

And De Profundis is Wilde's spiritual autobiography, isn't it?

Thanks for your very awesome post about enlightened witnesses in the world and time of Wilde.

Chechar said...

Hi Adelaide,

It was precisely that film that you mention what moved me in the last days of 2009 to reread De Profundis. As always, the Hollywood film is a travesty of Wilde’s tragedy. In De Profundis you will be surprised to find not much comment by Wilde himself about the judiciary process that ended in prison. Wilde focuses instead in the psycho relationship he had with his boyfriend, blaming both himself and Bosie. Together with a religious quest in which he writes about what represents Christ for the artist, this is the axis of De Profundis.

What I find it most outrageous is that the Homo videns, those silly humans who get their worldview from TV instead of books, swallow Hollywood’s propaganda that a great puritanical, 19th century injustice was perpetrated on poor Wilde. Wilde himself makes it all too clear that, by not breaking with Bosie, he, Wilde, was the intellectual author of his own misfortune.

When will Hollywood do a real Wilde biographical film?

Malcolm said...

I have never read any of Alice Millers book any recommendations?

Chechar said...

Yes Malcolm, the one I mention above, Breaking Down the Walls of Silence.



Adelaide Dupont said...

The guilt thing (or more properly self-blame) which you mention: could this be because Wilde converted to Catholicism quite late in his life (or so we are led to believe)?

He did take accountability/responsibility in the Bosie affair.

Sometimes Miller's letters from her readers can be useful too. She has just written a new book called From rage to courage, which is full of readers' letters.

When you add 'cou' to 'rage', you add a heart. It is a change of heart, a new heart.

Probably my own Miller recommendation would be For your own good because it can help supply 1) what you needed as a child and 2) what you might not do as a parent.

When Wilde was very young, some of his brothers and sisters died. And he had a special relationship with his brother Willie, who was a kind of mentor and role-model.

I have also read and really enjoyed The ballad of Reading Gaol.

Chechar said...

@ “The guilt thing (or more properly self-blame) which you mention: could this be because Wilde converted to Catholicism...?”

No. Wilde felt guilty, as can be read over and over in De Profundis, because he let himself to be treated like a dog by the much younger Bosie. (Obviously this was an erotic drive, although Wilde doesn’t confess it.)