Oscar Wilde Assembly

"Very much the darling of the women’s magazines, Mrs Oscar Wilde was renowned for her beautiful outfits, a regular complement to her husband’s own attire. Constance, like so many other forward-thinking women of her day, used fashion to convey something of her political, feminist leanings. A hundred years before women burned their bras, she wore loose-fitting clothing in sympathy with the movement to reform female dress and emancipate women from the confines of corsets and hoops."
Constance: The Tragic and Scandalous Life of Mrs Oscar Wilde, Franny Moyle.

"As a self-confessed Pre-Raphaelite - a term that by the 1880s was interchangeable with ‘Aesthete’ - Constance was carrying a torch whose flame had ben lit in the 1850s by a group of women associated with the founding Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood painters. Women such as Elizabeth Siddal and Jane Morris, the wives respectively of the painter Dante Gabriel Rossetti and the poet, designer and socialist William Morris, had modelled for the Pre-Raphaelite artists, wearing loose, flowing gowns.
But it was not just their depiction on canvas that sparked a new fashion among an intellectual elite. Off canvas these women also establised new liberties for women that some twenty years later were still only just being taken up by a wider female population. They pioneered new kinds of dresses, with sleeves either sewn on at the shoulder, rather than below it, or puffed and loose. While the rest of the female Victorian populace had to go about with their arms pinned to their bodies in tight, unmoving sheaths, the Pre-Raphaelite women could move their arms freely, to paint or pose or simply be comfortable. The Pre-Raphaelite girls also did away with the huge, bell-shaped crinoline skirts, held out by hoops and cages strapped on to the female undercarriage. They dispensed with tight corsets that pinched waists into hourglasses, as well as the bonnets and intricate hairstyles that added layer upon layer to a lady’s daily toilette.
Their ‘Aesthetic’ dress, as it became known, was more than just a fashion; it was a statement. In seeking comfort for women it also spoke of a desire for liberation that went beyond physical ease. It was also a statement about female creative expression, which in itself was aligned to broader feminist issues. The original Pre-Raphaelite sisterhood lived unconventionally with artists, worked at their own artistic projects and became famous in the process. Those women who wore Aesthetic dress in their wake tended to believe that women should have the right to a career and ultimately be enfranchised with the vote.
[…] And so Constance, with ‘her ugly dresses’, her schooling and her college friends, was already in some small degree a young woman going her own way. Moving away from the middle-class conventions of the past, where women were schooled by governesses at home, would dress in a particular manner and be chaperoned, Constance was already modern."
Constance: The Tragic and Scandalous Life of Mrs Oscar Wilde, Franny Moyle.

"The writer Marie Corelli first encountered [Constance Wilde] at around this time, and she too found the combination of high fashionable society and radical politics somewhat hard to reconcile. But Corelli, who met Constance at a lunch party held by the socialite Mrs Skirrow, could not deny, in spite of her skepticism about Constance’s political efficacy, that Constance was strangely compelling. Just like Henry Fedden, Douglas Ainslie and many other admirers before her, Corelli, a lesbian, found herself falling under the spell of Oscar’s ‘pretty wife’.

[…] Constance’s fascination with Constance comes across in one of her literary ventures. In 1892 she published The Silver Domino, or Side Whispers, Social and Literary, a series of satirical portraits of her famous contemporaries. Chapter 10, entitled ‘The Social Elephant’, presents a caricature of Oscar as a huge elephant and Constance as his dainty foil. Her account of Constance, portrayed as a fairy who sits on the elephant’s back and is responsible for managing this cumbersome responsibility, not only restores a sense of the public profile that Mrs Oscar held before her husband’s downfall but also gives an indication of the relationship that contemporaries observed between Oscar an his wife. Despite the condescending satire, it remains a vivid portrayal of a woman who was clearly captivating, not least to the author of the piece.

'As for the Fairy, it is not too much to say that she is one of the prettiest things alive,' Corelli notes.

She does not seem to stand in awe of her Elephant lord. She has her own little webs to weave - silvery webs of gossamer-discussion on politics, in which, bless her heart for a charming little Radical, she works neither good nor harm. Her eyes would burn a hole through many a stern old Tory’s waistcoat and make him dizzily doubtful as to what party he really belonged to for a moment. She has the prettiest hair, all loosely curled about her face, and she has a low voice so modulated as to seem to some folks affected; it is a natural music. […] she does not talk much, this quaint Fairy, but she looks whole histories. Her gaze is softly whistful, anf often abstracted; at certain moments her spirit seems to have gone out of her on invisible wings, miles away from the Elephant and literary Castle, and it is in such moments that she looks her very prettiest. To me she is infinitely more interesting than the Elephant himself."
Constance: The Tragic and Scandalous Life of Mrs Oscar Wilde, Franny Moyle.

hellaretheothers:

Literature Meme
[8] Short stories
         [4/8] The birthday of the Infanta by Oscar Wilde (1891)
“‘Mi bella Princesa, your funny little dwarf will never dance again. It is a pity, for he is so ugly that he might have made the King smile.’
'But why will he not dance again?' asked the Infanta, laughing.
'Because his heart is broken,' answered the Chamberlain.
And the Infanta frowned, and her dainty rose-leaf lips curled in pretty disdain. ‘For the future let those who come to play with me have no hearts,’ she cried, and she ran out into the garden.”

hellaretheothers:

Literature Meme

[8] Short stories

         [4/8] The birthday of the Infanta by Oscar Wilde (1891)

“‘Mi bella Princesa, your funny little dwarf will never dance again. It is a pity, for he is so ugly that he might have made the King smile.’

'But why will he not dance again?' asked the Infanta, laughing.

'Because his heart is broken,' answered the Chamberlain.

And the Infanta frowned, and her dainty rose-leaf lips curled in pretty disdain. ‘For the future let those who come to play with me have no hearts,’ she cried, and she ran out into the garden.”


likeafieldmouse:

Oscar Wilde’s letter to an Oxford student on the uselessness of art:

My Dear Sir

Art is useless because its aim is simply to create a mood. It is not meant to instruct, or to influence action in any way. It is superbly sterile, and the note of its pleasure is sterility. If the contemplation of a work of art is followed by activity of any kind, the work is either of a very second-rate order, or the spectator has failed to realise the complete artistic impression. 

A work of art is useless as a flower is useless. A flower blossoms for its own joy. We gain a moment of joy by looking at it. That is all that is to be said about our relations to flowers. Of course man may sell the flower, and so make it useful to him, but this has nothing to do with the flower. It is not part of its essence. It is accidental. It is a misuse. All this is I fear very obscure. But the subject is a long one.

Truly yours,

Oscar Wilde


deromanus:

LITERATURE MEME | 10 works of prose - (10) the picture of dorian gray by oscar wilde

Sin is a thing that writes itself across a man’s face. It cannot be concealed.


Hello OW Assembly!
I’m a huge Wilde fan who, after lots of trial and error, created something that Wilde fans might love: a 3d printed pendant, made using his actual handwriting.
Would this be something that your followers might be interested in? If so, it would be so, so helpful if you could share.  What do you think? 


Thank you so much for your time, and have a wonderful week.

All the best,

Maeve 

Hello OW Assembly!
I’m a huge Wilde fan who, after lots of trial and error, created something that Wilde fans might love: a 3d printed pendant, made using his actual handwriting.
Would this be something that your followers might be interested in? If so, it would be so, so helpful if you could share.  What do you think? 
Thank you so much for your time, and have a wonderful week.
All the best,
Maeve 


Constance and Oscar in the garden of Mr and Mrs Palmer in Reading. Constance stands while her friend Jean Palmer is seated on the ground

Constance and Oscar in the garden of Mr and Mrs Palmer in Reading. Constance stands while her friend Jean Palmer is seated on the ground


This is just a note to say that I’ve changed the theme to something cleaner. I realized that the old theme was a mess, and the text was hard to read, and it was time to change that.

posted 6 months ago

oscarwetnwilde:

Some years after Wilde’s death, his younger son Vyvyan received a letter from a Frenchman who, as a child, had known Wilde when he was in exile in France, following his release from prison and shortly before his death. In his book Time Remembered, Vyvyan published the contents of the letter:

One Autumn evening, while putting on my overcoat after finishing my meal, I clumsily upset something, perhaps a salt-cellar, on Monsieur Sebastian’s table. He said nothing, but my mother scolded me and told me to apologize, which I did, distressed by my clumsiness. But Monsieur Sebastian turned to my mother and said: ‘Be patient with your little boy. One must always be patient with them. If, one day, you should find yourself separated from him…’ I did not give him time to finish his sentence, but asked him: ‘Have you got a little boy?’ ‘I’ve got two’, he said. ‘Why don’t you bring them here with you?’ My mother interrupted … ‘It doesn’t matter; it doesn’t matter at all,’ he said with a sad smile. ‘They don’t come here with me because they are too far away…’ Then he took my hand, drew me to him and kissed me on both cheeks. I bade him farewell, and then I saw that he was crying. And we left.
While kissing me he had said a few words which I didn’t understand. But on the following day we arrived before him and a bank employee who used to sit at a table on the other side of us asked us: ‘Did you understand what Monsieur Sebastian said last evening?’ ‘No,’ we replied. ‘He said, in English: “Oh, my poor dear boys!”‘

oscarwetnwilde:

Some years after Wilde’s death, his younger son Vyvyan received a letter from a Frenchman who, as a child, had known Wilde when he was in exile in France, following his release from prison and shortly before his death. In his book Time Remembered, Vyvyan published the contents of the letter:

One Autumn evening, while putting on my overcoat after finishing my meal, I clumsily upset something, perhaps a salt-cellar, on Monsieur Sebastian’s table. He said nothing, but my mother scolded me and told me to apologize, which I did, distressed by my clumsiness. But Monsieur Sebastian turned to my mother and said: ‘Be patient with your little boy. One must always be patient with them. If, one day, you should find yourself separated from him…’ I did not give him time to finish his sentence, but asked him: ‘Have you got a little boy?’ ‘I’ve got two’, he said. ‘Why don’t you bring them here with you?’ My mother interrupted … ‘It doesn’t matter; it doesn’t matter at all,’ he said with a sad smile. ‘They don’t come here with me because they are too far away…’ Then he took my hand, drew me to him and kissed me on both cheeks. I bade him farewell, and then I saw that he was crying. And we left.

While kissing me he had said a few words which I didn’t understand. But on the following day we arrived before him and a bank employee who used to sit at a table on the other side of us asked us: ‘Did you understand what Monsieur Sebastian said last evening?’ ‘No,’ we replied. ‘He said, in English: “Oh, my poor dear boys!”‘