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20.07.2014
Within the Parent’s Place, you can monitor your child’s reading progress, track quiz results, approve your child’s prize selection and help your child find their next book to read. We’ve also provided a number of valuable resources you can use to help motivate your child to read. At the heart of the book is the trial that broke down Wilde and ended up in his outrageous incarceration. Our goal is to empower you with fun ideas, informative articles and the online tools you need to build your child’s reading skills and confidence! McKenna has left no stone unturned, and you almost feel, reading those pages, as if he was not only in the courtroom, but also in Wilde's bedroom, in his friends and nemesis' houses, in the cell where he was locked down. That, of course, makes for a fascThis is riveting and heartbreaking biography of the wonderfully talented Oscar Wilde that tells all about the writer's life in a vivid way.
That, of course, makes for a fascinating read - and McKenna is clever enough to show all of Wilde's faces, revealing a complex and tortured man behind the facade. But more than that, this book is also a passionate cry for compassion, justice, and tolerance, three things that, sadly, Wilde was denied in his lifetime. The humiliating treatment he had to endure for just being gay is, for us in this day and age, really horrifying. It focuses on the important questions like, "Whom did he have sex with, maybe?" and "Whom did his friends have sex with, maybe?" No matter if in answering these questions he uses the most questionable sources, for example , who in addition to claiming all sorts of salacious things about Oscar Wilde and Bosie also claimed to have had sex with the Empress of China.
Frankly, if there was anything, anything that had to do with Oscar Wilde and homosexuality and I was writing a book on Oscar Wilde and homosexuality, I would go ALL OUT, too and just put everything I could find in there. If I found out that some guy had sent letters to Oscar and later Oscar had dinner with him then I am writing that, yeah, maybe they had sex, okay? All in the effort to answer the biggest, most important question: "Just how much of a flaming queen was Oscar Wilde?" because the answer is girl, the man was OSCAR WILDE, you could make up all sorts of shit and it wouldn't come close.Nick Jul 01, 2012What a read! And at the end of it all is the inevitable inference that, whatever the mess, the English ruling classes have always closed ranks to lookWhat a read!
And at the end of it all is the inevitable inference that, whatever the mess, the English ruling classes have always closed ranks to look after their own.
The only irritation of the book is the bizarre annotation, sans footnotes.Rachael Eyre Nov 21, 2013A bit of a slog, to be honest.


I love Oscar's writing, but if this book is any indication, wouldn't have cared for him as an individual.
It suffers from two major flaws: firstly, repetition (yes, he was a habitual user of Oxonian undergraduates and renters, we've got the message) and secondly, blithe acceptance of unacceptable behaviour. I realise it's a mistake to judge by our standards, but I found Oscar's cold hearted neglect of his wife and family unforgivable. McKenna also seems to be dazzled by Oscar's 'one true love' Bosie, who was not only the most wretched, spoilt little bitch any great man wasted his time on, but strongly implied to be a paedophile (at one point he has designs on Oscar's nine year old son!) I soon became very tired of reading yet another "exquisite sonnet" by Bosie that was anything but. The best parts of the book deal with Oscar's writing, particularly when examined from a "Uranian" perspective, and assorted gay scandals (I hadn't been aware of Francis Douglas's love affair with the Prime Minister before).
The villain of the piece, "the scarlet Marquis", is feelingly invoked- how dare such a grotesque man set himself up as a guardian of public morals?
But the book was such a confused, overwritten hotchpotch, smiling upon such dubious morals, it was a chore to get through and I'm thoroughly relieved to have finished it.
Indeed, I'll probably have to read Oscar's oeuvre again to have my confidence in him restored.Tocotin Feb 17, 2016I read this book less for Oscar (okay, I like him, reasonably), more for the general picture of the Victorian morality & sexuality, and of the murky underworld, without which the existence of Oscar would have been very hard indeed. The “secret life” of the title is of course sexual life, and the author tries to upturn every stone imaginable to find some evidence of yet another of Oscar’s sexual conquests – and if there are no stones, he’ll sure place sometI read this book less for Oscar (okay, I like him, reasonably), more for the general picture of the Victorian morality & sexuality, and of the murky underworld, without which the existence of Oscar would have been very hard indeed.
The “secret life” of the title is of course sexual life, and the author tries to upturn every stone imaginable to find some evidence of yet another of Oscar’s sexual conquests – and if there are no stones, he’ll sure place something that looks like a stone when you’re not watching.I love gossip and I loved this book, couldn’t wait to get back to it whenever I had a spare minute, but – and it’s a huge BUT – I felt that the author was a little bit too accepting of certain things, and just swept past them in his gallop after Oscar, maybe even covering his eyes.
Wilde and his friends exploited young boys who were, most of them, poor, uneducated, and socially in much lower position.
It seems that Oscar was generally decent… generally, but his beloved Bosie – what an useless, destructive parasite.
I wonder if Oscar knew that the person he loved the most was planning to "seduce" his 9-year-old son.
After all, he and Bosie went around the Middle East to have fun with little boys, who were supplied by their more than willing fathers, right?
The whole world at that time was full of well-to-do white gentlemen on an endless safari in the colonies, hunting for little girls and boys.
Gide’s best sexual memory was of a night spent with a 12-year-old Egyptian boy, and the five orgasms he had.


It is a complicated thing, because he was a victim of a political cover-up to some extent, and because the law didn’t care much for minors of any gender, but that doesn’t change the fact that he was all about “love” between older men and boys. He didn’t deserve the treatment he got – especially when you think of other horrible specimens like Bosie who were allowed to go free – but he did deserve a good smack on the head.Gerry Jan 11, 2015Neil McKenna presents us with a quite different view of Oscar Wilde, concentrating on Wilde's astonishing erotic odyssey through Victorian London's (and elsewhere) erotic underworld. It is truly a tour de force, drawing on a wide range of sources, many of them previously unpublished (perhaps not surprisingly!).It all begins so sedately, even though, as the author points out, 'There was something different, even remarkable about Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde when he arrived at Magdalen ColNeil McKenna presents us with a quite different view of Oscar Wilde, concentrating on Wilde's astonishing erotic odyssey through Victorian London's (and elsewhere) erotic underworld. It is truly a tour de force, drawing on a wide range of sources, many of them previously unpublished (perhaps not surprisingly!).It all begins so sedately, even though, as the author points out, 'There was something different, even remarkable about Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde when he arrived at Magdalen College, Oxford in October 1874.
Despite his sexual preferences, he met and married Constance Mary Lloyd and they had two sons, living a happy life in their early days.But Wilde could not suppress his desires and he pursued his interests outside his marriage. This put an enormous emotional strain on the marriage and eventually the couple became more distant.
By that time Wilde had encouraged friendships from male prostitutes, blackmailers and other undesirables.
And many of them were later to re-emerge to speak against him at his subsequent trials.Considering many letters were destroyed there is a plentiful supply of correspondence which describes Wilde's way of life, some of it to come back to haunt him.
And it was his friendship with 'Bosie', Lord Alfred Douglas, that brought him down, as Bosie's father, the Marquis of Queensberry took exception to the friendship and pursued Wilde diligently.The case went to court and Wilde, despite being urged to flee, remained to face the consequences - and they were severe for once the case against Queensberry was dismissed, he was charged with gross indecency and had to stand trial on his own behalf. As is well known he lost and ended up in gaol, where at least he wrote two major works, 'De Profundis' and 'The Ballad of Reading Gaol'.Neil McKenna magnificently captures his final days in Paris and on the continent, showing that as well as being lonely and depressed, he also had a memorable time, looking markedly better, slighter and younger than he had two years previously, rediscovering his attraction to other men and the attraction of Uranian love.
And, quite rightly, he felt that he was a victim of discriminatory laws again men who loved men and that those laws were 'wrong and unjust laws'.He wrote endless letters while in exile but his literary writing was over for as he replied when asked why he no longer wrote, 'Because I have written all there was to write. I wrote when I did not know life; now that I do know the meaning of life, I have no more to write. I have lived.'And he lived life to the full to the very end, even though at times he was penniless and hungry. McKenna states that he died an outcast, 'mourned by outcast men', but Wilde, in his heart, knew that he was a martyr in the epic struggle for the freedom of men to love men and he was happily confident in his view that Uranian love would, in time be seen as 'noble'.



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