Author(s): Oscar Wilde
"De Profundis and Other Prison Writings" is a new selection of Oscar Wilde's prison letters and poetry in "Penguin Classics", edited and introduced by Colm Toibin. At the start of 1895, Oscar Wilde was the toast of London, widely feted for his most recent stage success, "An Ideal Husband". But by May of the same year, Wilde was in Reading prison sentenced to hard labour. "De Profundis" is an epistolic account of Oscar Wilde's spiritual journey while in prison, and describes his new, shocking conviction that 'the supreme vice is shallowness'. This edition also includes further letters to his wife, his friends, the Home Secretary, newspaper editors and his lover Lord Alfred Douglas - Bosie - himself, as well as "The Ballad of Reading Gaol", the heart-rending poem about a man sentenced to hang for the murder of the woman he loved. This Penguin edition is based on the definitive "Complete Letters", edited by Wilde's grandson Merlin Holland. Colm Toibin's introduction explores Wilde's duality in love, politics and literature. This edition also includes notes on the text and suggested further reading. Oscar Wilde was born in Dublin. His three volumes of short fiction, "The Happy Prince", "Lord Arthur Savile's Crime" and "A House of Pomegranates", together with his only novel, "The Picture of Dorian Gray", won him a reputation as a writer with an original talent, a reputation enhanced by the phenomenal success of his society comedies - "Lady Windermere's Fan", "A Woman of No Importance", "An Ideal Husband" and "The Importance of Being Earnest". Colm Toibin is the author of five novels, including "The Blackwater Lightship" and "The Master", and a collection of stories, "Mothers and Sons". His essay collection "Love in a Dark Time: Gay Lives" from Wilde to Almodovar appeared in 2002. He is the editor of "The Penguin Book of Irish Fiction".
'De Profundis' remains Wilde's greatest piece of prose-writing -- Colm Toibin
Oscar Wilde was born in Dublin in 1854 and was educated in Dublin and Oxford. His three volumes of short fiction, The Happy Prince, Lord Arthur Savile's Crime and A House of Pomegranates, together with his only novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray, won him a reputation as a modern writer with an original talent, a reputation confirmed and enhanced by the phenomenal success of his society comedies - Lady Windermere's Fan, A Woman of No Importance, An Ideal Husband and The Importance of Being Earnest. Success, however, was short-lived. In 1891 Wilde had met and fallen extravagantly in love with Lord Alfred Douglas, and he was later sentenced to two years' imprisonment for acts of gross indecency. He was released from prison in 1897 and went into an immediate self-imposed exile on the continent. Wilde died in Paris in ignominy in 1900. Colm Toibin is the author of five novels, including The Blackwater Lightship and The Master, and a collection of stories, Mothers and Sons. His essay collection Love in a Dark Time: Gay Lives from Wilde to Almodovar appeared in 2002. His work has been translated into twenty-five languages. He is the editor of The Penguin Book of Irish Fiction.