February 24, 2004

Oscar Wilde: A Life in Quotes
Compiled by Barry Day

Say Again? -- You cannot read this "biography in quotes" without sensing that Barry Day harbors a distracting disdain for Wilde's homosexuality, Irishness and wit. "No doubt he will perform his task with all the bitterness of an old friend," Wilde is quoted here as saying about the prosecutor before his first trial. One soon feels the same not-so closeted sentiment from Day, a former media adviser to Thatcher and Heath. Using asides that judge more than explain, it's as if Day is furrowing his brow and wagging a stubby finger, scolding, "Now-now, Oscar, now-now." Ultimately, as always, Wilde gets the last word: "Every great man nowadays has his disciples, and it is usually Judas who writes the biography."


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