The Secret Life of Oscar Wilde
An Intimate Biography
By Neil McKenna
(Basic Books, Hardcover, 9780465044382, 576pp.)
Publication Date: May 2005
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Oscar Wilde said of himself, I put all my genius into my life; I put only my talent into my work.” Now, for the first time, Neil McKenna focuses on the tormented genius of Wilde’s personal life, reproducing remarkable love letters and detailing Wilde’s until-now unknown relationships with other men.McKenna has spent years researching Wilde’s life, drawing on extensive new material, including never-before published poems as well as recently discovered trial statements made by male prostitutes and blackmailers about Wilde. McKenna provides explosive evidence of the political machinations behind Wilde’s trials for sodomy, as well as his central role in the burgeoning gay world of Victorian London. Dazzlingly written and meticulously researched, The Secret Life of Oscar Wilde fully charts Wilde’s astonishing odyssey through London’s sexual underworld and paints a frank and vivid psychological portrait of a troubled genius.
Neil McKenna is an award-winning British journalist who has written for the Independent, the Observer, the Guardian, and the New Statesman. He is the author of On the Margins: Men Who Have Sex with Men in the Developing World. He lives in London.