Constance: The Tragic and Scandalous Life of Mrs. Oscar Wilde [NOOK Book]

Overview


“Tells the poignant story of Constance in the aftermath of Wilde’s trials and imprisonment, and of her brave attempts to keep in contact with him despite her suffering.” —The Irish Times

In the spring of 1895 the life of Constance Wilde changed irrevocably. Up until the conviction of her husband, Oscar, for homosexual crimes, she had held a privileged position in society. Part of a gilded couple, she was a popular children’s author, a fashion icon, and a ...

See more details below
Constance: The Tragic and Scandalous Life of Mrs. Oscar Wilde

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK Study
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$10.99
BN.com price
(Save 38%)$17.99 List Price

Overview


“Tells the poignant story of Constance in the aftermath of Wilde’s trials and imprisonment, and of her brave attempts to keep in contact with him despite her suffering.” —The Irish Times

In the spring of 1895 the life of Constance Wilde changed irrevocably. Up until the conviction of her husband, Oscar, for homosexual crimes, she had held a privileged position in society. Part of a gilded couple, she was a popular children’s author, a fashion icon, and a leading campaigner for women’s rights. A founding member of the magical society The Golden Dawn, her pioneering and questioning spirit encouraged her to sample some of the more controversial aspects of her time. Mrs. Oscar Wilde was a phenomenon in her own right.

But that spring Constance’s entire life was eclipsed by scandal. Forced to flee to the Continent with her two sons, her glittering literary and political career ended abruptly. She lived in exile until her death.

Franny Moyle now tells Constance’s story with a fresh eye. Drawing on numerous unpublished letters, she brings to life the story of a woman at the heart of fin-de-siècle London and the Aesthetic movement. In a compelling and moving tale of an unlikely couple caught up in a world unsure of its moral footing, Moyle unveils the story of a woman who was the victim of one of the greatest betrayals of all time.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Filling a gap in literary biography, this meticulous account of the life of Constance Mary Lloyd and her marriage to Oscar Wilde proves revealing, if cumbersome. Moyle (Desperate Romantics) perfunctorily reviews Lloyd’s upbringing and devotes most of the book to her life with Oscar. Clearly wishing to correct a historically misbegotten view of their relationship, Moyle steadfastly chronicles the love and artistic and creative energy that “the literary couple” shared, from their work together for Woman’s World (a magazine Wilde edited) to the possibility of their collaboration on work that Wilde published under his name. Moyle leads the reader through Lloyd’s spiritual and political pursuits as a liberal married mother in Victorian London, and the frazzled grace with which she attempted to retain a semblance of decent life for herself and her two sons after Wilde’s imprisonment. Refreshingly, Moyle resists the temptation to let Wilde overtake the story even as Wilde’s behavior dictates much of Lloyd’s situation. The book drags, however, particularly in its middle third, as the names of characters and organizations in Lloyd’s life pile up and become a catalogue of facts, rather than a narrative. Still, Moyle has produced a mostly fascinating portrait of a smart, fierce, and misunderstood woman. (Dec.)
The Wall Street Journal
“Ms.
Moyle is a strong advocate for her subject. She notes that Oscar's fairy tales center on themes of devotion and self-sacrifice, themes by which Constance lived her life.”
London Review of Books - Colm Toibin
“An illuminating biography.”
Independent on Sunday
“Riveting. Moyle captures vividly the texture and color of this vital world.”
The Sunday TImes (London)
“Powerful, absorbing and, well, rather jolly.”
The Sunday Times (London)
“Powerful, absorbing and, well, rather jolly.”
Colm Toibin - London Review of Books
“An illuminating biography.”
Sunday Times
“Powerful and absorbing.”
Library Journal
A beautiful and clever young woman from a well-off but dysfunctional family, Constance Lloyd insisted on marrying the already-famous Oscar Wilde in 1884, despite rumors that Wilde had homosexual tendencies. At first they both seemed happy, furnishing their home and beginning a family. But shortly after their second son, Vyvyan, was born, Oscar began spending more time away, often with handsome young men. After his trial and conviction for sodomy and gross indecency in 1895, Constance remained loyal, visiting him in prison, even offering to take him back. He refused her, preferring his lover, Lord Alfred Douglas, after his release. Both died in separate exile, she at age 39 after a botched operation and Wilde two years later in Paris. VERDICT Moyle (Desperate Romantics) does not see Constance as the long-suffering victim that she is often depicted to be. Instead, drawing on over 300 unpublished letters, Moyle presents a compelling portrait of a bright, capable, trendsetting woman who wrote children's books, participated in the women's suffrage movement, and dabbled in spiritualism. This first biography of Constance Wilde will appeal to readers interested in Oscar Wilde's family life and the role of women in fin de siècle London.—Nancy R. Ives, SUNY at Geneseo
Kirkus Reviews
The little-known Constance Lloyd Wilde had some years of surpassing happiness with her gifted, controversial husband before scandal overwhelmed everything. Former BBC arts producer Moyle (Desperate Romantics: The Private Lives of the Pre-Raphaelites, 2009) has a difficult task: keeping the focus on Constance when Oscar's flamboyance, fame and flameout are so riveting. Mostly, she succeeds. The author begins in 1895 at a moment of great success and crisis: Oscar had two hits in the West End, but the scandal of his homosexuality was erupting, which would send him to prison for two years, destroy his reputation and career, and send his wife and two sons into exile to the continent, where they changed their surnames to Holland. After this emotional "teaser" of an opening, Moyle returns to tell the stories of her principals. Constance, whose wealthy father died when she was still a teen, suffered from her mother's verbal and physical abuse. Nonetheless, she emerged as a bright, attractive, talented young woman whom Oscar met via her brother. Oscar, Moyle reminds us, had already lost one young woman--to Bram Stoker. Moyle carefully charts their courtship, marriage and parenthood. Initially, the Wildes were popular in society and helped each other in their work. Oscar was practicing journalism and writing poetry; Constance was involved in various women's causes and wrote stories and essays. All looked well. Then…Lord Alfred "Bosie" Douglas. Oscar's sexual passion for him consumed them all. Moyle shows us a bright, trusting woman who remained devoted even in some of the darkest hours. Juicy literary history. The Wildes' stories would have silenced the Prince in Romeo and Juliet, who said there "never was a story of more woe."
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781453271483
  • Publisher: Pegasus Books
  • Publication date: 10/9/2012
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 122,221
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author


Franny Moyle has a degree in English and History of Art from St. John’s College, Cambridge, and is the author of Desperate Romantics. She was a leading arts producer at the BBC, which culminated in her becoming the corporation’s first Commissioner for Arts and Culture, and is now a freelance writer in London. 
Read More Show Less

Read an Excerpt

Constance

The Tragic and Scandalous Life of Mrs Oscar Wilde


By Franny Moyle, John Murray

PEGASUS BOOKS

Copyright © 2011 Franny Moyle
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4532-7148-3



CHAPTER 1

The sins of the parents ...

If you happened to dine at the Café Royal or the Savoy in the early 1890s, you might well have glimpsed the great Oscar holding court. A cigarette and wine glass in hand, enthroned in a corner, with a group of acolytes in attendance, he was the embodiment of blatant decadence. And many who witnessed this bacchanalian version of the man wondered how he and his political, campaigning but nonetheless far more temperate wife had ever determined to marry. But Oscar and Constance were far more similar than has been generally acknowledged. The key to their compatibility was rooted in their own personal histories. On both of them the influence of Ireland, the scars of scandal and the impression of a domineering mother had made their mark. Their connection was Oscar's home town of Dublin, from where Constance's mother, Ada, also hailed.

Adelaide Barbara Atkinson, to give her her full name, was the daughter of Dublin's Captain John Atkinson, once with the 6th Rifles and subsequently Receiver-General of the Post Office there, who with his wife, Mary, had brought up their family in an elegant Georgian town house, 1 Ely Place. Mary's brother Charles Hare, the first Baron Hemphill, Sergeant and QC, lived close by at 65 Merrion Square, where his neighbours included Oscar's parents, Sir William and Lady Wilde.

Ada Atkinson was a selfish and difficult woman, who when she was just nineteen married her cousin Horace Lloyd, an English barrister eight years her senior. Lloyd was the son of the eminent QC and one-time Radical MP John Horatio Lloyd. In choosing a husband from this branch of the family, Ada was marrying into a considerable fortune and perpetuating an already impressive lineage.

The entrepreneurial Lloyds had grown rich on the back of the industrial revolution. John Horatio Lloyd was the son of the attorney John Lloyd, who played a leading part in suppressing the Luddite riots in the first quarter of the nineteenth century. Educated at Stockport Grammar, John Horatio went to Oxford and took a double first in Classics before being called to the bar and being elected Liberal MP for Stockport. He became an exceptionally wealthy man indeed, not least because his legal practice had become the favoured counsel for the fast-developing railway companies, but also because he invented a type of investment bond on which the development of the railway system became particularly dependent: the Lloyd's Bond.

Ada and Horace initially lived in 3 Harewood Square in Marylebone, close to Regent's Park and north of the busy Marylebone Road. On Wednesday 12 November 1856 the Morning Chronicle announced that 'On the 10th inst at 3 Harewood Square the wife of Horace Lloyd Esq., barrister at law' was delivered of 'a son and heir'. This was Otho Lloyd. Two years later the same column announced his sister Constance's arrival into the world, and the family was complete.

The birth of two children in quick succession did not, alas, signify domestic bliss in Harewood Square. Horace Lloyd's sense of his marital obligations quickly waned. As his professional success grew, so did his appetite for the pleasures of various gentlemen's clubs and his ambitions to rise to a position of prominence within the strange business of Freemasonry. Part of the Prince of Wales's social set, he developed the reputation for being a stop-out who could 'have taken on any expert in one of the three games, chess and billiards and whist, and beaten him in two out of three'.

If a guiding paternal hand was absent in Harewood Square, so was maternal warmth. Ada also failed to show much interest in her offspring. Otho Lloyd would later suggest that he and Constance were brought up 'against the will and determination of two most selfish and egotistical natures'.

The one thing Ada Lloyd did do, however, was introduce her children to Dublin. Resentful and lonely, Ada's marital unhappiness prompted regular visits to her mother, 'Mama Mary', in Dublin's Ely Place. After Captain John Atkinson died in 1862, these trips became yet more frequent.

And so the young Constance and Otho found themselves often leaving the modern villas of West End London to spend time in the calmer, quainter Georgian environs of Dublin's Ely Place and Merrion Square. Here they had their cousin Stanhope Hemphill to play with as well as their youthful aunt Ellena, born in 1853. The Atkinsons, Hemphills and Wildes all moved within the same tightly knit Dublin community, and it is highly likely that the young Lloyd children would have encountered or heard tell of Sir William and Lady Wilde in Merrion Square, and of their two sons, Willie and Oscar.

Constance was not an entirely healthy child. Her brother described her as 'somewhat bilious'. Nevertheless she survived bouts of the standard juvenile maladies of the era, chickenpox and measles, and by the age of ten, by which time her father had become a QC, she found herself living with her family in the grand surroundings of London's Sussex Gardens.

The upwardly mobile Lloyds lived first at 9 Sussex Gardens and then, in line with Horace's burgeoning practice, they moved to an even larger villa at no. 42, where they enjoyed five servants: two housemaids, a cook, a kitchen maid and a butler. As the level of domestic help suggests, Sussex Gardens, just off Hyde Park, was an area associated with the well-to-do. It was also close to grandpa John Horatio, who lived in another huge and imposing villa at 100 Lancaster Gate.

Here Constance enjoyed a thorough education. Otho Lloyd remembered his sister as being able to play the piano well, able to paint in oils, a fine needlewoman and well read. She also spoke French and could read Dante in the original Italian. The censuses of both 1871 and 1881 describe her as being a scholar. Although she was almost certainly tutored by a governess with her brother when theywere small, when her brother was sent away to Clifton School in Bristol she clearly attended one of the few schools for girls that had been founded in London since the mid-century.

By the 1870s there were a number of colleges open to young women who wanted to continue their education, cherry-picking the courses and classes that appealed. The academic standards the mature attendees of the colleges were expected to meet were in fact very high. Young women, although unable to hold a degree, could, via these schools, study under the tutelage of university staff for examinations that were marked by the University of London.

Constance took one such course and university examination in English literature, specializing in the work of Shelley. The intensity of the study required to pass the examination is suggested by Constance's complaint that the course 'ought to have been stretched over a year at least', although, practical as ever, Constance added that she was not going to bother 'worrying over it'. 'I intend to take it very quietly,' she told Otho, relaying that 'I shall not do any singing next week' in order 'to get what time I can for reading'. This strategy clearly proved successful, since Constance also noted that her tutor, a Mr Collins, was barely able to make a single comment on her Shelley essay, it was so good.

But regardless of their education, their impressive address and financial comfort, the emotional home life of the Lloyd children never stabilized. Horace Lloyd's weaknesses were not limited to billiards and cards: he also had a soft spot for women. Years later Constance witnessed a scene at her grandfather's house when a woman presented her son at Lancaster Gate and a 'row' ensued. Later Otho saw a young man at Oxford who caused him concern. Although Constance's correspondence regarding this is not explicit, the implication is that Otho felt sure he had spotted his illegitimate half-brother, the product of one of Horace's unwise dalliances.

[Y]our letter distressed me very much for it seems so very probable, and yet I thought the boy was only about 16 or 17, also I thought she could not have afforded to send him to the University. After all if she can, surely they [sic] is less fear of any 'rumpus' since they could only make an exposure in order to get money. Try and see him and see if you can trace any likeness – I tried a short while ago to find out something more about him, but grandpapa evidently thought I would tell Mama or someone about it so he said it was not a subject for me to talk about and shut me up completely, but he has heard nothing of them since they made the row at Lancaster Gate.

The Lloyd family was particularly prone to the odd sexual deviation. It was not just Horace who had succumbed. John Horatio had also been at the heart of a sex scandal, of sorts. In the 1830s, when, as a politician, he had been assisting Lord Brougham in piloting through the House of Commons the first Criminal Law Amendment Act, a piece of legislation that would abolish capital punishment for certain offences, John Horatio was working until the small hours of the morning on a regular basis. His hard graft was not unnoticed, and he had, according to Otho, secured the promise of being appointed Solicitor-General in due course. But late nights and early starts wreaked havoc with John Horatio's well-being. 'His health gave way under the strain,' Otho explained, and then he did a very odd thing indeed. He 'exposed himself in the Temple Gardens ... he ran naked in the sight of some nurse maids'. Not surprisingly, John Horatio's career took a tumble. He lost the opportunity of becoming Solicitor-General and was forced to retire from political and legal work for four years, during which time he went abroad to Athens and became a director of the Ionian Bank.

Oscar's own background held similar, greater, scandals. Oscar's father, Sir William Wilde, was a self-made man. The son of a doctor, he became a highly esteemed and pioneering eye and ear surgeon, as well as a recognized scholar and statistician who had written widely not only on medical issues but also on archaeology and folklore. His decision as a young man to set up a free clinic to treat Dublin's poor had provided him with the publicity and experience to become Ireland's leading specialist in his field and had subsequently delivered him his fortune and title. But when Oscar's father married his mother, the fiery poet and Irish nationalist Jane Elgee, known as Speranza, he already had at least three illegitimate children in tow. One, who went under the name of Henry Wilson, became a doctor and practised with his father. Sir William's two illegitimate daughters Emily and Mary Wilde were brought up by relatives. But it was not his premarital aberrations that were considered Sir William's scandal. Rather, it was an incident that happened during his marriage.

In the very year that Oscar was born, 1854, Sir William began an affair with Mary Josephine Travers, the nineteen-year-old daughter of one of his medical colleagues, Dr Robert Travers. Although they may have known each other socially, Miss Travers was also a patient of Wilde's. Their relationship was a long and relatively open one and resulted in another illegitimate child. But after almost a decade, when Wilde ended the relationship, to his horror Miss Travers suggested that their affair had begun with a rape, carried out while, as his patient, she was anaesthetized. Although Travers did not attempt a court action based on her accusation, she began a letter-writing campaign, sending letters to Merrion Square as well as to local newspapers.

Travers's campaign heightened when, shortly after Wilde's knighthood, she published a scurrilous pamphlet, a cautionary tale about a girl raped by her doctor, barely concealing her own and Wilde's identities as Florence Boyle Price and Dr Quilp respectively. The whole of Dublin was scandalized, not least because Travers's coup was to publish the pamphlet under Speranza's name. Speranza wrote to Dr Travers, accusing his daughter of orchestrating the campaign 'in which she makes it appear that she has had an intrigue with Sir William Wilde'. Wilde's wife also alleged that Travers was attempting to extort money and referred to 'wages of disgrace'.

In an event that Oscar would have been wise to have remembered when he faced his own weirdly similar trials, Travers now saw her opportunity to ruin her former lover by dragging the business into court and thus into the public arena and press. She sued Speranza for libel and in giving evidence revealed every detail of her affair with Wilde. Everything was reported. It became a national sensation.

The jury found in favour of Miss Travers, but awarded her just a farthing damages. But of course, the costs of the case had to be paid by the Wildes, and these were considerable. After the trial Wilderetreated to his country home, Moytura House in Galway, and pursued archaeological investigations there while Speranza, an indomitable character, faced Dublin's society alone with the boys. Sir William Wilde never properly recovered from the incident. He died in 1876. Constance's great-uncle Charles Hare Hemphill walked behind the coffin as part of the cortège that took the body to Dublin's Mount Jerome Cemetery.

Constance's father had met his own demise two years earlier, in 1874, from pulmonary disease. On Sunday 5 April that year The Era announced the death in its column dedicated to Freemasonry:

The death of Br Horace Lloyd occurred on Monday last at his residence in Kensington, at the age of forty six. He had long been a distinguished Freemason and taken a prominent part in the affairs of the Craft ... Latterly, however, his health failed, ... but it was not suspected at that time that his sickness was 'unto death'. He did not however recover and ... breathed his last on the 30th.


Constance was just sixteen. Her father's death would have a dramatic and devastating effect on her own life, and heralded another scandal that Constance, barely out of childhood, would have to face. This was not the kind of public scandal that had threatened her grandfather's and father's reputations. It was a private scandal, concealed by the family, but for that none the less shameful. This time it centred on the disgraceful behaviour of her mother.

After the death of her husband Ada Lloyd began to abuse her daughter. Behind the respectable white stuccoed façade of the villa in Sussex Gardens the teenage Constance suddenly found herself taunted, threatened and beaten by a woman who had turned from being uninterested and cold to downright cruel. Otho remembered the barrage of suffering his sister faced. It ranged from 'perpetual snubbing in private and public sarcasm, rudeness and savage scoldings' to physical violence that included 'threatening with the fire-irons or having one's head thumped against the wall'. No teenager could go through this 'without some mark on the character being left', Otho later recalled.

Being made the butt of jokes in public and then slapped and threatened in private scarred Constance's personality and confidence. As a young woman she developed a pathological shyness when in public and a tendency to irritability and short-temperedness at home. The 'cruelty and contempt' Constance suffered in 'place of the care she ought to have received ... fostered a natural irritability which I am sure she tried to overcome but never could entirely, but she would be sorry presently and would not be too proud to say so', Otho remembered. 'There is no question she was markedly critical, and was irritated by little annoyances which many another would have hardly noticed.'

The damage was not merely emotional. If she already had something of a weak constitution, physical abuse did little to improve it. 'I went to see Mr Morgan yesterday,' Constance revealed to Otho in the summer of 1878, 'and he said that I was very weak indeed, with scarcely any pulse ... He has given me tonic pills, ... and also ordered me to lie down and sleep every day after lunch all of which Mama pooh poohed and declared it was only indigestion; she asked me if it was her cruel treatment of me that made me weak?!'

One can only speculate why Ada became so cruel and abusive, but it's likely that sexual jealousy lay at the heart of it. Ada was still only in her thirties when her husband died. Although Horace Lloyd left a legacy of £12,000, which was made over in his will entirely to his wife, the supplementary income from his legal practice died with him, and Ada must have realized that to maintain her current high standard of living she must remarry.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Constance by Franny Moyle, John Murray. Copyright © 2011 Franny Moyle. Excerpted by permission of PEGASUS BOOKS.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Contents

Acknowledgements,
Introduction,
1. The sins of the parents ...,
2. Terribly bad taste,
3. The sunflower and the lily,
4. 'Bunthorne is to get his bride',
5. Violets in the refrigerator,
6. Ardour and indifference,
7. A literary couple,
8. 'Not to kiss females',
9. Qui patitur vincit,
10. My own darling mother,
11. A dark bitter forest,
12. Modern-day Martha,
13. The strife of tongues,
14. Madame Holland,
15. Life is a terrible thing,
Epilogue,
Notes,
Select bibliography,
Illustration acknowledgements,
Index,

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 7 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(3)

4 Star

(3)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(1)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 17, 2012

    Great book!!!

    Franny Moyleis biography of the often neglected Constance Wilde, wife of the Decadent poet and playwright Oscar Wilde is a real contribution to women's history and Oscariana. Moyle tells the sad tale of Constance's unhappy childhood, and ultimately disasterous marriage to a gay man. In these pages Constance comes alive as Moyle describes her causes, triumphs and failures. Moyle is strongly critical of Oscar and even more so of Lord Alfred Douglas, Oscar's selfish lover. She also notes Constance's psychological inability to deal with the failure of her marriage the symptom of which was aimless wandering amongst the homes of the bourgeoisie and gentry. This book is a must read for any fan of Victorian culture, the Wilde circle or womens history.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 29, 2012

    A Wonderful Read

    Very well researched and written bio of Constance Wilde. Some of the details are salacious, but important parts of her life. It also tells much about Oscar himself - not the most likeable person ever.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 14, 2013

    Dry read!

    I really enjoy Oscar Wilde, so I thought that this book would offer a glimpse into his personal life. I am only on page 35, but it is soooooo boring. So far, it only gives the humdrum details of Constance Wilde's young years. I am hesitant to invest more time into it , because it is such a slow read. Don't bother!

    1 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 3, 2013

    Interesting and Fascinating Read!

    If you are familiar with Oscar Wilde, you will enjoy learning more about him through his wife,Constance. She is a fascinating person in her own right. Reading about her gives insight into the culture and society of the era, especially how women were not allowed to vote.

    Oscar and Constance Wilde have a fulfilling and loving marriage, supporting one another in so many ways. Oscar is also a family man who loves his wife and two sons. When Oscar begins his relationships with young men, at first he finds them fascinating for their intelligence and love of his works. Constance is often supportive and encouraging.
    However, she does not realize the seedier part of his sexual needs with men.

    Reading about Constance gives a better understanding of Oscar, the family man and his other life as a homosexual. Moreover, reading about her opens our eyes to how bright women had to maneuver ways to satisfy their intelligence, so they could live more enriched lives.

    The author's style of writing reads more like a dissertation rather than a biography and is a bit wordy. There are moments of confusion in the timelines and some of the characters. Apart from these problems, the book explores the times and tribulations of women, especially those of Constance Wilde who had to endure public humiliation caused by her husband.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 14, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 29, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 30, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)