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André & Oscar: Gide, Wilde and the Gay Art of Living

The Irish playwright Oscar Wilde is a quintessentially 1890s figure, one of the modern world’s first “celebrities”, though the scandal of his downfall resonates still today. André Gide, on the other hand, was recognised as the foremost French stylist of the first half of the 20th Century, showered with honours and crowned with the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1947.

So for many people it will come as something of a surprise to discover how far the two men’s lives overlapped during a period of 10 years. Fate brought them together in France, Italy and Algeria, the latter providing the occasion of Wilde’s insistence that Gide be initiated into the pleasures of the flesh, despite the strictures of his Protestant upbringing.

This book intertwines the story of their sometimes turbulent relationship with chapters on their respective mothers, wives and lovers, all of whom were players in their often heart-wrenching dramas.


“Exceptionally well written… full of perception and information about homosexual lifestyles at the end of the nineteenth century.”

The Stage

“Fryer has written a sobering book in a sober style involving a considerable amount of discursive, but fascinating, material.”

Simon Callow

“Fryer’s fluent narrative, which recounts a well-known story from a slightly oblique angle, convincingly presents Wilde as simultaneously a role model and an awful warning to the younger writer.”

Daily Telegraph

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