This weekend sees the first annual Oscar Wilde Festival – something that the organisers hope will grow year on year to become a staple of the literary festival calendar. It is held in Galway, in the west of Ireland, where Wilde had strong family connections and which influenced much of his early writing.
Oscar Wilde has an appeal that has stood the test of time, due to his talent for writing and also the controversy surrounding his personal life. His satirical wit is well known, and I love the way he used funny and likeable characters to as a vehicle for commenting on Victorian life and customs. His gothic novel The Picture of Dorian Gray also has a haunting appeal, especially when understanding the connections to Wilde’s own troubled background. I hope the festival is a success and I also hope that next year I might be able to attend.
Most people have a favourite Wilde quote – I have several, but here is one:
“To be born, or at any rate bred, in a hand-bag, whether it had handles or not, seems to me to display a contempt for the ordinary decencies of family life that reminds one of the worst excesses of the French Revolution.”
The Importance of Being Earnest
Feel free to comment with your own favourites.