Did you know that Oscar Wilde was married and had two sons? (10 cents)

Perhaps you did. I, for one, had never paid any attention to Wilde’s family, but he was living with his wife and two sons, when his troubles broke out, and his homosexual or bisexual ways led to his arrest, trials, and eventual incarcerations.

When that occurred, and the Wilde sons were only 8 and 11, they were certainly not told the origin or substance of their father’s troubles, only that he was going through a bad time, that their home was to be taken from them, that they had to leave Britain, separate from their parents, and change their names from Wilde to Holland.

Then came a series of generally unpleasant schools, in France, Switzerland, Italy and Monaco, and the death of their by then estranged parents, followed by a series of not quite successful guardians, and the separation of the two boys to different schools.

The older brother Cecil was killed during World War I; the younger, Vyvyan, lived to be 80, seemed to have got over the embarrassment of his father’s notoriety, and became something of an author himself, writing a memoir, “Son of Oscar Wilde” that talks about how he and his brother coped with all of the changes foisted upon them after the arrest of their father. An interesting book on a number of levels – how schools worked at the turn of the century, and how the Wilde family coped in general with Oscar’s problems.

One thought on “Did you know that Oscar Wilde was married and had two sons? (10 cents)

  1. Ten years ago, when I was doing research for my Fowles biography at the Ranson Humanities Center in Austin, the researcher sitting next to me was Wilde’s grandson. He was a dead ringer for the old boy! He was researching Oscar’s letters and papers and was quite a nice man. His book subsequently was published. Don’t know if you know that Wilde’s wife stuck with him almost to the bitter end. Then he persuaded her to take the children to France. They had to change their surname. He was very proud of her and attentive in a non-sexual way. Also, was a very good father. Wrote some lovely children’s stories and modern fairytales that he made up for the boys.

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