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Ballad Of Reading Gaol
by Oscar Wilde
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From Library Journal
Woodstock's facsimile series takes a walk on the Wilde side with this poetry duo from 1898 and 1892, respectively. The former volume offers one long poem, while the latter contains about 50 shorter pieces. These reproductions additionally include scholarly introductions.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
This dramatically illustrated collector's edition marks the centenary of Oscar Wilde's release from prison in 1898 and the publication of his anguished poetic masterpiece. One hundred years after his release from Reading Gaol, the life and work of Oscar Wilde has lost none of its fascination. In his day, his wit and writings enchanted and scandalized society in equal measure; his downfall came at the height of his powers. Devastated by his notorious trial for indecency, imprisoned for ``homosexual offenses,'' he was to spend two ruinous years in solitary confinement. As he was later to tell Andre Gide, Reading Gaol ``was not fit for dogs. I thought I would go mad.'' The Ballad was written from personal experience, and there was to be no more writing after this. As Wilde observed: ``Something is killed in me.'' Bankrupt, disgraced, and in exile, Wilde was to die not long after his release at the age of 46. His final resting place is the cemetery of Pere Lachaise in Paris. His tomb bears an inscription from The Ballad of Reading Gaol: ``And alien tears will fill for him/Pity's long broken urn/For his mourners will be outcast men/And outcasts always mourn.'' This commemorative edition of the poem is illustrated with the powerfully moving wood engravings of Garrick Palmer. 48 pp 5 x 8 8 wood engravings
And blood and wine were on his hands When they found him with the dead, The poor dead woman whom he loved, And murdered in her bed.
The Merriam-Webster Encyclopedia of Literature
Poem by Oscar Wilde, published in 1898. This long ballad, Wilde's last published work, is an eloquent plea for reform of prison conditions. It was inspired by the two years Wilde spent in the jail in Reading, Eng., after being convicted of sodomy.
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