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Exile of Oscar Wilde

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Prison had affected Wilde’s health adversely. He was released on 19th of May 1897. He came out with a feeling of spiritual renewal & immediately wrote to the Jesuits requesting a six month Catholic retreat. Wilde wept on being denied.

He left England the next day, to spend his last 3 years in penniless exile at the continent. He took the name Sebastian Melmoth after Saint Sebastian, who was a character of Wilde’s uncles’ gothic novel.

Wilde spent mid 1897 with Robert Ross in Berneval-le-Grand, where he wrote the poem The Ballad Of Reading Goal under the pen name of C.3.3. The poem was a commercial success & was sent for reprint till seven editions in less than 2 years.

After receiving such huge success, his name was added in parentheses, though many in literary circles had known Wilde to be the author. It bought him a little money to survive.

Douglas had been the cause of his misfortunes & despite knowing this fact, he & Wilde reunited in August 1897, at Rouen. Friends & relatives of both men were unhappy with their reunision.

Constance Wilde disallowed Wilde to see their sons, though she kept him supplied with money. During the latter part of 1897, Wilde & Douglas lived together near Naples, but later separated for financial & other reasons.

Wilde’s final address was at the dingy Hotel d’Alasace in Paris. From there he wrote a letter to the publisher of his works saying that he was going through hardships & requested him to what he could. This was what poverty had done to Wilde.

He was feeling very depressed. The publisher in return corrected & published his plays An Ideal Husband & The Importance Of Being Earnest & gave him the royalty. The most unfortunate thing that happened then was Wilde’s decision to stop writing.

According to him, the joy of creation had been kicked out of him, he once told his friend. Then, having nothing much to do, he used to spend much of his time wandering the Boulevards alone, & spending what little money he had on alcohol.

A series of embarrassing encounters with English visitors, or Frenchman he had known in better days, further damaged his spirit. On 12th October he sent a telegram to Ross telling him about his weakness & requesting him to come.

by FW Editor

Tags: writer, poet, journalism

Category: Celebrities  - ( Celebrities Archive)

Date Added: 12 April '10

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