Oscar Wilde - The Great Drama of His Life: How His Tragedy Reflected His Personality

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9781845194345: Oscar Wilde - The Great Drama of His Life: How His Tragedy Reflected His Personality
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In the 1890s, Oscar Wilde enjoyed one of the most high-profile reputations in Britain. Yet, virtually overnight, he was plunged into disgrace and ruin. What were the reasons for this extraordinary reversal of fortune? This book explores Wilde's motivation in prosecuting the Marquess of Queensberry, and it elaborates on the precarious legal situation that effectively quashed any prospect of a withdrawal from the lawsuit without dire consequences. The book examines the medical and psychiatric aspects of Wilde's two-year imprisonment and reveals the machinations among prison officials and doctors to cover up Wilde's state of health, based on the original Home Office records. Wilde's medical history is presented with an expert evaluation of his terminal illness, including a resolution of the syphilis controversy. The book also details Wilde's tangled matrimonial affairs during his imprisonment and goes on to disclose the maneuvers adopted by friends to secure his early release, citing hitherto unpublished letters to show that bribery of prison personnel was seriously contemplated. The issue of homosexuality is discussed not only in relation to Oscar Wilde, but from the broader historical, legal, and biological perspective. Wilde's character and behavior is portrayed through the images he projected onto society, by the strong but mixed public reaction to him, and by the quality of his interpersonal relationships with his wife, family, and close friends. Finally, Wilde's personality is assessed using internationally accepted diagnostic criteria. In an unusual and innovative experiment, a group of Wildean scholars completed a psychological questionnaire as if they were doing so for Oscar Wilde himself. Drawing on these findings and on his own extensive psychiatric experience, author Ashley Robins concludes that Wilde had a personality disorder that culminated in the final and tragic phase of his life.

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About the Author:

After qualifying in medicine, Ashley Robins specialized in psychiatry in London, Oxford and Johannesburg. For 30 years he was senior lecturer in psychiatry and pharmacology at Cape Town University, and in 1984 was elected a Distinguished Teacher. He is author of Biological Perspectives on Human Pigmentation (1991). Now retired, he continues to teach in an honorary capacity.

Review:

“Ashley Robins, from his background in medicine and psychiatry, has reviewed the life history of Oscar Wilde, providing new insights into the effects of his imprisonment, his matrimonial situation and medical problems. Oscar Wilde—The Great Drama of His Life is a welcome and original clinical analysis of Wilde’s personality and behavior, detailing how these contributed to his downfall.”  —Michael Seeney, deputy chairman, the Oscar Wilde Society

“With its narrow focus on Oscar’s personality, behavior, and adversities, this is a sombre book which inevitably has few glimpses of his wit and his greatness as a writer. That said, it is notably lucid and well-reasoned, carefully and thoroughly researched with valuable extended quotations from unfamiliar original sources, and adds significantly to our understanding of Wilde the man and of important events in his life.”  —Donald Mead, editor, the Wildean, chairman, the Oscar Wilde Society

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Book Description Sussex Academic Press, United Kingdom, 2011. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. In the 1890s Oscar Wilde enjoyed one of the most high-profile reputations in Britain; yet, virtually overnight, he was plunged into disgrace and ruin. What were the reasons for this extraordinary reversal of fortune? Ashley Robins explores Wilde s motivation in prosecuting the Marquess of Queensberry, and elaborates on the precarious legal situation that effectively quashed any prospect of a withdrawal from the lawsuit without dire consequences. He examines the medical and psychiatric aspects of Wilde s two-year imprisonment and reveals -- for the first time and based on the original Home Office records -- the machinations among prison officials and doctors to cover up Wilde s state of health. Wilde s medical history is presented with an expert evaluation of his terminal illness, including a resolution of the syphilis controversy. Robins details Wilde s tangled matrimonial affairs during his imprisonment and goes on to disclose the manoeuvres adopted by friends to secure his early release, citing hitherto unpublished letters to show that bribery of prison personnel was seriously contemplated. The issue of homosexuality is discussed not only in relation to Oscar Wilde but from the broader historical, legal and biological perspective. The author portrays Wilde s character and behaviour through the images he projected onto society, by the strong but mixed public reaction to him, and by the quality of his interpersonal relationships with his wife, family and close friends. Finally, Wilde s personality is assessed using internationally accepted diagnostic criteria; and, in an unusual and innovative experiment, a group of Wildean scholars completed a psychological questionnaire as if they were doing so for Oscar Wilde himself. Drawing on these findings and on his own extensive psychiatric experience, Ashley Robins concludes that Wilde had a disorder of personality that culminated in the final and tragic phase of his life. Seller Inventory # AAG9781845194345

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Book Description Sussex Academic Press, United Kingdom, 2011. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. In the 1890s Oscar Wilde enjoyed one of the most high-profile reputations in Britain; yet, virtually overnight, he was plunged into disgrace and ruin. What were the reasons for this extraordinary reversal of fortune? Ashley Robins explores Wilde s motivation in prosecuting the Marquess of Queensberry, and elaborates on the precarious legal situation that effectively quashed any prospect of a withdrawal from the lawsuit without dire consequences. He examines the medical and psychiatric aspects of Wilde s two-year imprisonment and reveals -- for the first time and based on the original Home Office records -- the machinations among prison officials and doctors to cover up Wilde s state of health. Wilde s medical history is presented with an expert evaluation of his terminal illness, including a resolution of the syphilis controversy. Robins details Wilde s tangled matrimonial affairs during his imprisonment and goes on to disclose the manoeuvres adopted by friends to secure his early release, citing hitherto unpublished letters to show that bribery of prison personnel was seriously contemplated. The issue of homosexuality is discussed not only in relation to Oscar Wilde but from the broader historical, legal and biological perspective. The author portrays Wilde s character and behaviour through the images he projected onto society, by the strong but mixed public reaction to him, and by the quality of his interpersonal relationships with his wife, family and close friends. Finally, Wilde s personality is assessed using internationally accepted diagnostic criteria; and, in an unusual and innovative experiment, a group of Wildean scholars completed a psychological questionnaire as if they were doing so for Oscar Wilde himself. Drawing on these findings and on his own extensive psychiatric experience, Ashley Robins concludes that Wilde had a disorder of personality that culminated in the final and tragic phase of his life. Seller Inventory # AAG9781845194345

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