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Book Title: The Ballad of Reading Gaol|
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 5.51 MB
v The author of the book: Oscar Wilde
Edition: Dodo Press
Date of issue: November 1st 2005
ISBN 13: 9781406502367
City - Country: No data
Read full description of the books The Ballad of Reading Gaol:This is my 4th time to read Oscar Wilde and the more I read his works, the more he becomes one of my favorite writers.
Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) was a married man and he had two children. Yet, he had homosexual affairs. His sexual preference, considered lewd and taboo during the Victorian era, led him to his incarceration in a town prison or gaol in Reading, England. That explains the title. In the prison, he witnessed the execution of a man who killed his wife while drunk. A year later, when he was out of his cell, he wrote this sad and haunting poem, The Ballad of Reading Gaol and it was so famous, his friends put some passages from it on his epitaph (tombstone).
The effect of this poem to me was that for almost a week, I stopped reading. I could not stop the scenes in the poem that kept playing in my head: a dead wife whose throat is slit by a knife. The drunk husband standing in the corner of the room shocked amidst the eerie silence regretting what he did. The same man being led to his execution while Wilde looking at murderer's "bitter" eyes. That adjective in quotation comes from the famous passage from the poem: "Yet each man kills the thing he loves
By each let this be heard.
Some do it with a bitter look,
Some with a flattering word.
The coward does it with a kiss,
The brave man with a sword! We all do this right? Not killing our love ones with a sword of course but hurting the people we love. Sometimes we want to test how they would react because we know they will not stop loving us. Sometimes, it is our sheer foolishness. Or maybe, just like the man who actually killed his wife, he was just drunk.
Prior to joining Goodreads in 2009, I did not know anything about Oscar Wilde but when I read his heartbreaking memoir De Profundis (4 stars), I immediately read The Happy Prince and Other Tales (3 stars) followed right away by his most famous work, The Picture of Dorian Gray (3 stars). I liked them all but I am always curious about the "dark" side (not that homosexuality is dark but it is normally not put in the open so there goes my interest) of an author's mind. So with the previous knowledge of Oscar Wilde's life story (his downfall because of his incarceration) I read this poem slowly and so those scenes got imprinted in my mind and stayed there for almost a week that I could not understand what was going on while trying to read the other books in my currently-reading shelf.
That's how powerful this poem is. It is haunting. The vivid description of the gaol. The cries of a man thrown into the jail waiting for his death. The pleas of Wilde and his surrender to God. Wilde used to be flamboyant, happy, famous and rich suffering from hunger and spite of the town's people. The brilliant author not being allowed even a pen and paper to write his thoughts. Only because he committed homosexual affairs.
Oscar Wilde, your fault was this: you were born at the wrong time.
Read information about the authorOscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde was an Irish playwright, poet and author of numerous short stories and one novel. Known for his biting wit, and a plentitude of aphorisms, he became one of the most successful playwrights of the late Victorian era in London, and one of the greatest celebrities of his day. Several of his plays continue to be widely performed, especially The Importance of Being Earnest.
As the result of a widely covered series of trials, Wilde suffered a dramatic downfall and was imprisoned for two years hard labour after being convicted of "gross indecency" with other men. After Wilde was released from prison he set sail for Dieppe by the night ferry. He never returned to Ireland or Britain, and died in poverty.
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