Constance: The Tragic and Scandalous Life of Mrs. Oscar Wilde

Colm Tóibín writes:

Despite the neatness of the narrative which Wilde’s life seems to present, there is considerable evidence that what happened to him was the result of drift as much as design, and that things might have been otherwise. There is evidence too that his wife, Constance, rather than being the ‘exasperating, tiresome, silly’ figure imagined by people such as Yeats’s father, was a complex woman of some intelligence, and that the marriage was neither a mistake nor a misunderstanding. There is also evidence that on some days of the week at least, Wilde was as much an ordinary man as a flamboyant artist who willed his own demise.

(LRB 10 May 2012)

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