This article analyzes Oscar Wilde's alcoholism and self-destructive personality as the adult child of alcoholics and as a romance addict who preferred younger men.
Clifton gives an overview of the book:
Despite the weighty attention Wilde and his work have received, I agree with John Lahr's assertion: "None of Wilde's biographers offer[s] an interpretation of his self-destructiveness [. . .]". Lahr adds, "for that one has to read between the lines of Wilde's wit." Yet, although Lahr cites a few lines of that famous wit, he doesn't begin to analyze Wilde's self-destructiveness. This I intend to do. I suspect biographers and critics have shied away from the subject for a number of reasons: personal friendship with Wilde, self-protection, other aims, lack of knowledge and evidence, and political correctness. Queer critics in particular may not want to sully the reputation of one who is, after all, a gay icon. As a queer critic myself, I have no intention of tarring Wilde's reputation in the least. What I intend to do is to uncover some of the reasons for Wilde's self-destructiveness, recognizing, as Wilde says in Intentions, the full truth is "unattainable."
Clifton Snider is the author of ten highly-acclaimed books of poetry, including The Age of the Mother (1992), The Alchemy of Opposites (2000), and Moonman: New and Selected Poems (2012). His novel about a bisexual rock star, Loud Whisper,...