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Oscar Wilde

Book Overview: 

Wilde’s literary reputation has survived so much that it proves against any exhumation of articles which he or his admirers would have preferred to forget. As a matter of fact, this volume will prove of unusual interest; some of the reviews are curiously prophetic; some are, of course, biased by prejudice hostile or friendly; others are conceived in the author’s wittiest and happiest vein; only a few are colorless. And if, according to Lord Beaconsfield, the verdict of a continental nation may be regarded as that of posterity, Wilde is a much greater force in our literature than even friendly contemporaries ever supposed he would become.

It should be remembered, however, that at the time when most of these reviews were written Wilde had published scarcely any of the works by which his name has become famous in Europe, though the protagonist of the esthetic movement was a well-known figure in Paris and London.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .W. B. Richmond is a ‘clever trifler,’ who ‘might do really good work’ ‘if he would employ his time in learning to paint.’  It is obviously unnecessary for us to point out how luminous these criticisms are, how delicate in expression.  The remarks on Sir Joshua Reynolds alone exemplify the truth of Sententia No. 19, ‘From a picture we gain but little more than we bring.’  On the general principles of art Mr. Quilter writes with equal lucidity.  That there is a difference between colour and colours, that an artist, be he portrait-painter or dramatist, always reveals himself in his manner, are ideas that can hardly be said to occur to him; but Mr. Quilter really does his best and bravely faces every difficulty in modern art, with the exception of Mr. Whistler.  Painting, he tells us, is ‘of a different quality to mathematics,’ and finish in art is ‘adding more fact’!  Portra. . . Read More

Community Reviews

Section 12: "A Handbook to Marriage" written in the Pall Mall Gazette Nov. 18, 1885

Interesting to hear Oscar Wilde put forth on the limitations of women; and to find a magazine article that amused him concerning same. However, it was written in 1885 when Chester Arthur was president.

In spite of its

I really enjoyed Oscar Wilde's collected reviews.

I love his plays. I absolutely hated his writings on art and beauty. I found them to be so unfocused, rambling and at times, self-contradictory.

The structured, short form of magazine reviews of other people's works seemed ideally suited to his talents