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The Secret Life of Oscar Wilde

‘I have put my genius into my life but only my talent into my work’. So said Oscar Wilde of his remarkable life – a life more complex, more erotic, more troubled and more triumphant than any of his contemporaries ever knew or suspected.

Neil McKenna’s The Secret Life of Oscar Wilde charts fully for the first time Oscar’s astonishing erotic odyssey through Victorian London’s sexual underworld.

Oscar Wilde emerges as a man driven personally and creatively by his powerful desires for sex with men, and Neil McKenna argues compellingly and convincingly that Oscar’s Wilde’s life and work can only be fully understood and appreciated in terms of his sexuality.

The book draws of a vast range of sources, many of them previously unpublished, and includes startling new material like the statements made to the police by the male prostitutes and blackmailers ranged against Oscar Wilde at his trial which have been lost for over a century.

Dazzlingly written, The Secret Life of Oscar Wilde meticulously and brilliantly reconstructs Oscar Wilde’s emotional and sexual life, painting an astonishingly frank and vivid portrait of a troubled genius who chose to martyr himself for the cause of love between men.


"Intriguing and entertaining... McKenna makes an impassioned case for re-gaying Wilde"

The Times

"A groundbreaking new biography of our greatest queer martyr"

The Observer

"It cannot be recommended too highly. Extraordinary, intensely passionate and quite beautiful" Manchester Evening News

"This is by far and away the best biography of Oscar Wilde to date"

John McRae, Professor of Literature

"A bold book"

The Guardian

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