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Ceremonies of BraveryOscar Wilde, Carlos Blacker, and the Dreyfus Affair$
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J. Robert Maguire

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199660827

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199660827.001.0001

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‘He Was a Great Genius. His Familiar Talk Was Golden’

‘He Was a Great Genius. His Familiar Talk Was Golden’

Chapter:
(p.156) 10 ‘He Was a Great Genius. His Familiar Talk Was Golden’
Source:
Ceremonies of Bravery
Author(s):

J. Robert Maguire

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199660827.003.0011

Notified in Freiburg by Robbie Ross that Wilde was dying, Blacker ‘left for Paris with Carrie’ the following day. Despite his prompt response, however, not having seen Wilde since their bitter breakup more than two years before, it was not until the day after Wilde died, the fourth day following Blacker’s arrival in Paris, that he visited the deathbed. ‘When I saw him on his bed’, he recalled, ‘I broke down and cried as I am almost ashamed to have cried.’ He described the harrowing ordeal of his two visits in a letter that his intimate friend W. R. Paton pronounced ‘one of the most terrible letters’ he had ever read, while citing the ‘real affection’ evident in the letter that Wilde, ‘for all his faults’, inspired in his friends. In the years following Wilde’s death to Blacker’s final surviving diary entry in January 1907, he records ten instances of his regular visits to Wilde’s grave. At his own death in 1928, acting on his expressed wish, his devoted wife Carrie consigned his body to a single attendant who brought it otherwise unaccompanied to Père Lachaise cemetery where it was cremated and the ashes deposited in the columbarium, in the shadow of Wilde’s celebrated tomb by Jacob Epstein in the neighbouring cemetery division.

Keywords:   W. R. Paton, Père Lachaise, columbarium, Epstein

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