Title: The Unmasking of Oscar Wilde
Author: Joseph Pearce
Publisher: Ignatius Press
Date Published: 2004
Price: Hardcover $19.95
Comments: Originally published in softcover by Harper Collins UK in 2001
From the Publisher
In his new book, Joseph Pearce asserts that the great poet, satirist, and
playwright Oscar Wilde is as misunderstood today as he was in his own time.
Vilified by his fellow Victorians for his sexuality and dandyism, these days he is
hailed as a sexual liberator. Yet this is not how Wilde saw himself. His
lifestyle and pretenses did not bring him happiness and fulfillment: his art did.
And this is where Pearce's search for the man behind the masks is centered.
Rather than lingering on the actions that brought him notoriety, Joseph Pearce
explores the emotional and spiritual search of this fascinating and complex
figure. The Unmasking of Oscar Wilde reveals how his "heart of stone" was broken
by his two-year prison sentence, while it probes the deeper implications of his
masterpieces. Along with a discussion of The Ballad of Reading Gaol and the
posthumously published De Profundis, it also traces his fascination with
Catholicism through to his eleventh-hour conversion. --This text refers to the
About the Author
Joseph Pearce is the author of numerous acclaimed biographies of major
Catholic literary figures.
He is a Writer in Residence and Professor of Literature at Ave Maria College
in Michigan, Editor-in-Chief of Ave Maria University Communications and
Sapientia Press, as well as Co-Editor of the The Saint Austin Review (or StAR), an
international review of Christian culture, literature, and ideas published in
England by the Saint Austin Press.
Vilified by fellow Victorians for his sexuality and his dandyism, Oscar
Wilde, the great poet, satirist and playwright, is hailed today, in some circles,
as a "progressive" sexual liberator. But this is not how Wilde saw himself. His
actions and pretensions did not bring him happiness and fulfillment. This
study of Wilde’s brilliant and tragic life goes beyond the mistakes that brought
him notoriety in order to explore this emotional and spiritual search.
Unlike any other biography of Wilde, it strips away these pretensions to show
the real man, his aspirations and desires. It uncovers how he was broken by
his two-year prison sentence; it probes the deeper thinking behind masterpieces
such as The Picture of Dorian Gray and "De Profundis"; and it traces his
fascination with Catholicism through to his eleventh-hour conversion.
Published on the 150th anniversary of his birth, this biography removes the
masks which have confused previous biographers and reveals the real Wilde
beneath the surface. Once again, Joseph Pearce has written a profound, wide-ranging
study with many original insights on a great literary figure.
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