Friday, 16 November 2007

On Oscar Wilde's DE PROFUNDIS

I finally got to read Oscar Wilde's De Profundis. It is a kind of Steinhardt's Diary of Happiness / Jurnalul fericirii, but not so...profound (in spite of the title) - the "unhappy prince" of dandyism thought of Jesus in terms of a Romantic character. He even called Christ the Romantic figure par excellence. Steinhardt wrote about "the new creature in Christ" with much more subtelty - I think. I first came across this title while reading a book by a Romanian bishop (Antonie Plamadeala, I think his name is) who mentioned it while writing (=preaching) about repentance.
Wilde's paradoxical thinking is here fresher than ever, despite his being in prison. He says: shallowness (and stupidity) is the only vice he can acknowledge. Nothing that men do is evil in itself to him, yet whatever they may become can be bad - a kind of amoral thinking, indeed. And more: God punishes us in two ways: when he doesn't grant our wishes and when he does.
His confession (it is a confession, after all) speaks to me especially when he writes about his effort in overcoming hatred (towards his ex-lover). Don't we all try - more or less committedly - to transform hatred into love? I totally subscribe to his point of view when he says that a lesser kind of "fraternity" unites people when they hate one another. Hatred breeds hatred. And no one can claim he / she is superior as long as they admit they hate.
Can't help wondering how his evolution would have been, provided that he had not come across that lover of his who had infuriated his Puritanical father to such an extent that he (the father) brought Wilde to the court (which sent him to prison for almost two years) and paved his road to ruin...Or was it to enlightment and happiness, as he claims he experienced in his cell, once his connections to the whimsical society and all its glamour were cut off?. But then, were they really cut off? He says he wishes he could meet again his ex-lover & his "loyal friends" once he is checked out from prison. Old habits die hard, indeed...Wilde's destiny (=nature) seems to me yet another unanswerable question...

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