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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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‘The Most Bitter Experience of a Bitter Life’

‘The Most Bitter Experience of a Bitter Life’

Chapter:
(p.85) 6 ‘The Most Bitter Experience of a Bitter Life’
Source:
Ceremonies of Bravery
Author(s):

J. Robert Maguire

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199660827.003.0007

This chapter relates to the first year following Wilde’s release from prison. Determined to resume ‘artistic’ work, in the relative quiet of Berneval he brought ‘The Ballad of Reading Gaol’ to near completion. As the carefree seaside days of summer gave way to the approach of autumn, however, the succession of visitors slowed, the weather began to change and boredom set in. Appeals to both Blacker and Constance, then visiting in Freiburg, to see him were met with discouraging replies suggesting postponement of the time. In regular communication with Douglas, he eventually made plans with him for the two to go to Italy and live together, thus causing his few remaining loyal friends to break with him as well as precipitating cancellation of the allowance Wilde received from Constance. Under threat from Douglas’s mother of stopping Bosie’s own small allowance, the affair that had been rekindled with such passion a few months earlier succumbed in an atmosphere of fatigue and relief as with the approval of both parties they separated. While Douglas left for Paris, Wilde lingered on in Naples for another month, until the publication date of the ‘Ballad’ approached when he decided as well to return to Paris.

Keywords:   Berneval, Robin, Sebastian Melmoth, Paton, Conybeare, Browning, Otho Holland, Vyvyan, Cyril, Rothenstein, Turner, Tartuffe

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