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Truly Wilde: The Unsettling Story Of Dolly Wilde, Oscar's Unusual Niece.

Schenkar, Joan.

138 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0465087728 / ISBN 13: 9780465087723
Published by Basic Books, New York, 2000
Used Condition: Very Good Hardcover
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442 pages. Hardcover with dustjacket. Very good condition. BIOGRAPHY. For sixty years she was a delicious rumor: Oscar Wilde's enchanting niece Dorothy. Born a scant three months after her uncle's notorius arrest and raised in the shadow of the greatest scandal of the turn of the twentieth century, Dorothy Ierne Wilde died exactly as she lived: vividly, rather violently and at a very good address. In this revolutionary and very modern biography, Joan Schenkar provides a fascinating look at what it means to live with the talents but not the achievements of biography's usual subjects: those obliterating "winners" - like Dolly's uncle Oscar - whose stories have almost erased riveting histories like Dolly's own. And she uncovers never-before-published evidence of the hidden life of the Wilde family and of the extraordinary salon society of Natalie Clifford Barney, Dolly Wilde's longest and most fatal attachment. Includes an Index. (Key Words: Dorothy Wilde, Oscar Wilde, Joan Schenkar, Biography, Natalie Cliford Barney, Virginia Woolf, Willie Wilde, Gertrude Stein, Vyvyan Holland, Lily de Gramont, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Victor Cunard, Colette, Tancred Borenius, Djuna Barnes). Bookseller Inventory # 63279X1

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Truly Wilde: The Unsettling Story Of Dolly ...

Publisher: Basic Books, New York

Publication Date: 2000

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Very Good

Dust Jacket Condition: Dust Jacket Included

Edition: Reprint Edition..

Book Type: book

About this title

Synopsis:

A "born writer" who never completed the creative life promised by her famous name and gorgeous imagination, Dolly Wilde was charged with charm, brilliantly witty, changeable as refracting light, and loaded with sexual allure. She made her career in the salonsand in the bedroomsof some of London's and Paris' most interesting women and men. Attracting people of taste and talent wherever she went, she drenched her prodigious talents in liquids and chemicals, burnt up her opportunities in flamboyant affairs, and created continuous sensations by the ways in which she seemed to be re-living the life of her infamous uncle. In this revolutionary and very modern biography, Joan Schenkar provides a fascinating look at what it means to live with the talents but not the achievements of biography's usual subjects: those obliterating "winners"like Dolly's uncle Oscarwhose stories have almost erased riveting histories like Dolly's own. And she uncovers never-before-published evidence of the hidden life of the Wilde family and of the extraordinary salon society of Natalie Clifford Barney, Dolly Wilde's longest and most fatal attachment.

Review:

She was lovely, sophisticated, and famous for her witty conversation, even in a social circle that was known for its fabulous talkers. The only child of Oscar Wilde's dissipated older brother Willie, Dolly Wilde (1895-1941) led a life as scandalous and glittering as her uncle's: she, too, loved her own sex, and her longest romantic relationship was with American heiress Natalie Clifford Barney, who was host of the most important Parisian literary salon of the 20th century. Unfortunately for Dolly's posthumous reputation, she "was an artist of the spoken word" whose only written legacy was her marvelous correspondence. Quoting liberally and perceptively from those letters, American playwright Joan Schenkar brings Wilde to life in a modernist biography that is written in prose as sparkling as Dolly's fabled bons mots. Schenkar eschews conventional chronology to consider Wilde's life thematically, from her lesbianism to her taste for smart society to her self-destructive identification with Uncle Oscar. She reminds us just how remarkable and accomplished were the women at Barney's salon (journalist Janet Flanner, novelist Djuna Barnes, and artist Mina Loy, among them) and how much they esteemed Dolly Wilde. Yet, her biographer downplays neither Wilde's addiction to drugs nor the sad loneliness of her death (possibly from a drug overdose) at age 45. This is essentially a tale of "squandered gifts and lost opportunities," Schenkar acknowledges, but she successfully provokes readers to share her admiration for Wilde's prodigal generosity with both her talent and her affections. --Wendy Smith

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