What is this blog all about?


Thanks for visiting our blog. I am assuming that since you are here you are probably in English 206 at SFU this spring semester, or you are Stephen Zillwood. Welcome! This blog is our submission for our term end project; it contains great information pertaining to what was hip and happening in Victorian times! We have recorded a small radio play from the final act of Oscar Wilde's "The Importance of Being Earnest". Feel free to listen to our recording. We have a summary of the first part for you in addition to the final act read aloud for your listening pleasure. Perhaps if you do not feel like reading the play this is just what you need. In addition to the recording we have posted a few small articles about various cool things occurring at the same time the play was taking the world by storm. Please enjoy exploring our blog and listening to our play.

Thanks from the Victorian Cool Cats,

Laila Barker
Jose Olaguera
Elena Quast
David Vo

Our Radio Play!

Blogspot is fussy about links to SFU Webspace accounts apparently, so to get our radio play, simply copy


into your address bar. Enjoy!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Who is Oscar Wilde?

Laila's Post #1
Who is Oscar Wilde?

"I have nothing to declare but my genius", is a famous quote of Oscar Wilde's made upon arriving at port in New York city. This grandiose claim gives a hint at his over the top personality and robust character. Oscar Wilde was a colourful and lively fellow who turned the world upside down with his sensational writing, and scandalous personal life. Wilde described himself stating, "He hasn't a single redeeming vice," (Henderson et al. 1977). As scandalous as his personal life may have been, it only contributed to his writings and created greater fame for Wilde.
Wilde was born in Dublin to parents also of noteable fame as writers, and in his father's case a surgeon of ill repute. In 1874 Wilde left Ireland to attend Oxford University. Upon graduation, Wilde drifted about society, and soon became a popular mover and shaker in the London social scene. Wilde was known to be an Aesthetic, someone who dressed outrageously and foppish and acted in a similar fashion. He was famous before he even began to publish. (Henderson, 1977).
Throughout his career, Wilde penned many poems, and plays, but only one novel, "The Picture of Dorian Grey". It was this novel that would lead to his downfall. Despite Wilde's marriage to a woman, he was accused of being a homosexual in 1895, shortly after the publication of the "Importance of being Earnest". He never made much attempt to conceal his homosexual relationships, and had many male lovers, and this casual attitude as well as the homosexual themes in his novel, lead to him being charged with the crime of being a homosexual, under the charge of committing indecent acts. He served two years hard labour, and was reputed to never be the same again. (Henderson, 1980).
After his conviction, his plays being shown were closed. Wilde was penniless and broken spirited. His friends and family shunned him. He moved to Paris, and died poor, claiming, "I am dying beyond my means" (Henderson, 1980).
Although we tend to focus on this scandal that rocked Wide's life when we think about who he was as a person, it is important to reflect upon his writings, and his contributions to the literary world. Wilde's life is celebrated in Paris, and other parts of Europe, by the Oscar Wilde Society, every year with a festival. If one truly wants to understand Wilde's writings, do not read them with the view that he was a homosexual, rather view them while keeping in mind all the other aspects of his personality, such as his Aestheticism and his love of satire. Wilde's work is scarcely influenced by his sexuality. Therefore, do not think of this much when reading Wilde. Wilde was more than most of his biographies tend to discuss. His personal scandal tends to outshine other aspects of his character that greater influence his writings. To truly appreciate his work, learn more about his character and beliefs, which you can accomplish by visiting his website, linked to in this blog.

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