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The Green Carnation

Robert Smythe Hichens

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .ect his sin; the weary white dawn, looking into his weary white face through the shimmering window panes, is greeted by a smile that leaps from sleepless eyes. The passion of the creator is upon him. The man who invents a new sin is greater than the man who invents a new religion, Reggie. No Mrs. Humphrey Ward can snatch his glory from him. Religions are the Aunt Sallies that men provide for elderly female venturists to throw missiles at and to demolish. What sin that has ever been invented has ever been demolished? There are always new human beings springing into life to commit it, and to find pleasure in it. Reggie, some day I will write a gospel of strange sins, and I will persuade the S. P. C. K. Society to publish it[Pg 34] in dull, misty scarlet, powdered with golden devils."

"Oh, Esmé, you are great!"

"How true that is! And how seldom people tell the truths that are worth telling. We ought to choose our truths as carefully as we choose our li. . . Read More

Community Reviews

Let me just start off by refuting the official summary, which states that "Gay men in turn-of-the-century Paris wore green carnations in their buttonholes." Wilde wore a green carnation and encouraged his devotees to wear them on at least one occasion, but it was never a widespread practice and i...more

I’m not sure why there are so many negative reviews of this book. I could quite easily imagine someone really enjoying it.

I had read on Wikipedia that this book was pulled from the shelves in 1894 after Wilde was imprisoned for the gay content in the book, which is not true. In the 1948 reprint o...more

*Life imitates art--so do I*
The green carnation, Oscar Wilde’s attribute, as we know, though his favorite colour was vermillion, this artificial flower appears in books here and there. Many writers have a dig at it as well as its owners--“It is said, a wild flower smells warmer if it’s smashed”-...more

Reading The Green Carnation is like reading Real Person Fanfic about Oscar Wilde and Lord Alfred Douglas. Not Real Person Slash, as the novel is too insistently discreet in its codings of homosexuality to explore their relationship to any great extent beyond mentor/mentee, although there are many...more

I see a lot of negative reviews here, and I can understand the criticisms--there's not much of a plot and none of the characters are particularly likable. However, as a Wildean interested in Wilde's influences, it was fun for me to read, perhaps even more fun than I anticipated. I just read Telen...more

I'm not certain how I found this book other than having been referred to it through some of my readings on Oscar Wilde. I've read others' reviews and was surprised that most of the reviews were so negative. Yes, I agree it is not as well-written as it could have been, nor as witty, but I loved th...more

Well! Clearly we've come pretty far in 100 years. Hard to believe this disjointed and oblique parody of Oscar Wilde's style and lifestyle played any part in Wilde's getting sentenced to 2 years' hard labor and effectively being expelled from his homeland for the rest of his life. The only harm I...more

I know a lot about Oscar and Bosie; I really do and have researched and divulged into their lives for a while now. I bought this book with extremely high hopes; after all, this was an important piece of evidence used in Oscar's trail! I fail to see how at all this book was used against Oscar. He...more

A very beautifully written book, but at times I felt it had no plot line. Well, thats what I get for reading books from the 1800s.

This book is one long "Hipsters suck!" rant. Hipsters in 1895 England being dandy aesthetes like Oscar Wilde and Bosie. It's like, "Look at these rich kids, pretending to be *authentic* and being *creative* the privileged bastards. I am seething with... with... envy! No wait, I shouldn't be. At l...more

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