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Posted March 9, 2013
Readers who don't want to study a weighty biography of Oscar Wilde may enjoy this brief (200 p) and well-written book. The advantages of this volume include Ray Morris Jr's clear exposition and judicious choice of aphorisms, both of which keep the narrative focused, informative, and entertaining. The chief disadvantage of a brief history such as this is that it necessarily piques the reader's interest without satisfying all the — admittedly digressive — threads it uncovers. But it would be a shame to overlook this volume, so I recommend a handy adjunct for curious readers: Have your laptop or pad handy so you can look up some of the fascinating people in this narrative. Many readers know about Ambrose Bierce, but how about Lillie Langtry, Joaquin Miller, Victoria Woodhull, Clara Morris, and many others?
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