christ wilde


On 19th May 1897, Oscar Wilde was released from prison after two years’ detention for acts of gross indecency. He handed a manuscript of some 50,000 words to his loyal friend and sometime lover, Robert Ross. This was to prove his last prose work before his death in Paris three years later and the only piece that he wrote during imprisonment. The text was an extended epistle to Lord Alfred Douglas, Wilde’s friend and lover, whose father, the Marquess of Queensbury, was the causa efficiens of Wilde’s downfall. This is not the place to enter into the agonies of the relationship to Douglas, or “Bosie” as Wilde called him. Nor do I wish to discuss the extremely lengthy litany of complaints that Wilde, with much justice, levels at his former lover. Let’s just say that Wilde was used and treated like a fool. Perhaps he acted like a fool as well. An expurgated version of Wilde’s letter was published in 1905 with the title, De profundis, which is the incipit of the 130th Psalm in Latin, ‘From the depths I cry to thee, O Lord’. It is the religious dimension to this letter that I find so arresting, particularly Wilde’s interpretation of the person of Christ.

more from The Guardian here.