Blog Post 7: Is Wilde “Wild”?

Oscar Wilde was a notable Irish poet and playwright from the Aesthetic literary movement where the primary focus was aesthetics. He was unique in that his personality and writing went hand in hand when it came to public reception and interpretation. Thus, it is important to consider his life and biographical details when reading his work. Though he published many impressive poems and plays, his noteriority came from his imprisonment as it was a big scandal and he was shunned by his inner circle. Due to this, his works were not as celebrated as they were associated with his “sins.” Presently, Wilde is known as an important literary figure to study and many of his works are widely discussed. However, discussions regarding his double life and imprisonment are still occurring. 

His eccentric personality is reflected in many of his works making it sometimes difficult to separate the author from the piece. This is seen quite evidently with one of his last published works,  The Ballad of Reading Gaol which was written when he was in exile after being released from prison. The poem focuses on the hanging of a fellow inmate and Wilde focuses on the prisoner as well as imprisonment. As seen in the excerpt below, his focus was on the treatment of the prisoners and their punishments but he did not discuss the crimes or what led to this outcome. Throughout this poem, the emotions he was feeling while in prison expressed through metaphors and vivid imagery showcase his mental state. Wilde encompasses “wild” through his life but also in his writing as they reflect the whirlwind journey he followed that some deemed as controversial. 

“They hang us now in Shrewsbury jail:

    The whistles blow forlorn,

And trains all night groan on the rail

    To men that die at dawn.”


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2 Responses to Blog Post 7: Is Wilde “Wild”?

  1. kcl928

    I like your discussion on how his personality was reflected in his own works. It really emphasizes how Wilde and his work came hand in hand when it came to wildness. I wish you had pulled more quotes from The Ballad of Reading Gaol though. Additionally, I felt like there could have been some more information about why he was shunned other than for his “sins”.

  2. arr4257

    It could have been good to include a description of the Aesthetic Movement as well as how Wilde fit into that movement. I did like your specific commentary on the Ballad of Reading Gaol and the specific story behind the poem, but how did the world receive this poem after its publishing?

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