Books: Enjoy A Literary Feast
Book Review By Ray Saadi
Read These Two Together
DECLARING HIS GENUIS by Roy Morris, Jr. (Harvard $26.95)
CONSTANCE by Franny Moyle (Pegasus Books $29.95)
Together these two books paint a three dimensional picture of noted author and raconteur, Oscar Wilde, who, when asked by a U.S. custom agent what he had to declare, reportedly replied, “Only my genius.” He then shared his genius in 140 lectures delivered while covering 15,000 miles across America, including New Orleans, often decked out in his famous green coat and hat, pictured full page in the gallery of photos. “America” Wilde said, was “not a country, but a world.”
Meanwhile, Wilde’s wife, Constance, remained in London preferring to occupy herself with her own accomplishments, among which were writing children’s books and campaigning for women’s rights. She was a beauty, the mother of Wilde’s two boys, and occupied a privileged position in society. That is, until Wilde was convicted for homosexual crimes, a scandal that caused her to move abroad and change her name. They never divorced.