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Sunday, August 28, 2005

Sodomites Unite!

Here's a great review of a new biography on the "secret" life of Oscar Wilde.

Some choice cuts:

" the very title of The Importance of Being Earnest is a Uranian pun....Among less literary Uranians, 'earnest' -- a corruption of the French uraniste -- enjoyed a short vogue as a coded signifier of Uranian inclinations" (as in "is he earnest?" to mean "is he gay?)"

"On the day 16-year-old Wilde left Portora Royal School, where he'd been a student, a boy a year younger than he -- with whom he'd had a strong "sentimental friendship" --came to the train station to bid him farewell. In McKenna's re-telling, as the Dublin train was about to depart, the boy turned and cried out, "Oh, Oscar!" "Before I knew what he was doing he had caught my face in his hands, and kissed me on the lips. The next moment ... he was gone." Wilde felt "cold sticky drops" trickling down his face -- they were the boy's tears. "This is love," he said to himself, trembling slightly."

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