At the start of 1895, Oscar Wilde was the toast of London, widely feted for his most recent stage success, An Ideal Husband. But by May of the same year, Wilde was in Reading prison sentenced to hard labour. 'De Profundis' is an epistolic account of Oscar Wilde's spiritual journey while in prison, and describes his new, shocking conviction that 'the supreme vice is shallowness'. This edition also includes further letters to his wife, his friends, the Home Secretary, newspaper editors and his lover Lord Alfred Douglas - Bosie - himself, as well as 'The Ballad of Reading Gaol', the heart-rending poem about a man sentenced to hang for the murder of the woman he loved.
This Penguin edition is based on the definitive Complete Letters, edited by Wilde's grandson Merlin Holland. Colm Tóibín's introduction explores Wilde's duality in love, politics and literature. This edition also includes notes on the text and suggested further reading.
Oscar Wilde was born in Dublin. His three volumes of short fiction, The Happy Prince, Lord Arthur Savile's Crime and A House of Pomegranates, together with his only novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray, won him a reputation as a writer with an original talent, a reputation enhanced by the phenomenal success of his society comedies - Lady Windermere's Fan, A Woman of No Importance, An Ideal Husband and The Importance of Being Earnest.
Colm Tóibín is the author of five novels, including The Blackwater Lightship and The Master, and a collection of stories, Mothers and Sons. His essay collection Love in a Dark Time: Gay Lives from Wilde to Almodovar appeared in 2002. He is the editor of The Penguin Book of Irish Fiction.
'How sad it is! I shall grow old, and horrid, and dreadful. But this picture will remain always young... If it was only the other way!'
Wilde's first and only published novel recounts the story of handsome Dorian Gray who upon having his portrait painted desires that it will age and grow ugly while he may remain eternally beautiful. The painting, which reflects each of Gray's sins and transgressions in its hideousness, haunts him until it finally becomes unbearable. In this dark tale of duplicity and mortality, Wilde creates a world where art and reality collide.
Alongside THE MODEL MILLIONAIRE, Harper Perennial will publish the short fiction of Fyodor Dostoevsky, Herman Melville, Willa Cather, Leo Tolstoy, and Stephen Crane to be packaged in a beautifully designed, boldly colorful boxset in the aim to attract contemporary fans of short fiction to these revered masters of the form. Also, in each of these selections will appear a story from one of the new collections being published in the "Summer of the Short Story." A story from Simon Van Booy's forthcoming collection, LOVE BEGINS IN WINTER, will be printed at the back of this volume.