Oscar Wilde & AC
By fluke I just watched a 1974 movie of The Picture of Dorian Gray and was repeatedly struck by the language used by Wilde and it's eerie similarity to many of AC's prose/thoughts.
I'm no expert on Wilde and know that he has often been linked to the Golden Dawn but I wonder if he would have ever had any kind of influence on AC.
I can find no direct facts on this thus far and wonder if anyone has any info?
Repeatedly in The book and film Dorian says:
"The aim of life is to realize one's true nature perfectly"
especially bearing in mind the book came out in 1890 when AC was a very impressionable teenager?
Another fabulous quote from that book:
"In love we begin by deceiving ourselves and end up deceiving others..."
"realising true nature" is also a pre-occupation in Mahayana Buddhism. There are also several references to Buddha in the film too: Light of Asia and Buddha being a virtuous man. I haven't seen the '74 version though, only the earlier B&W version so perhaps, if it does have thelemic content it has been added by the scriptwriter of that film..just a thought?
. . .having studied that era of art & literature for 15 years, I can tell you that, while Oscar was a fantastic recorder,- he took most of his dialogue from his contemporaries. Whistler was one of the first to call him on it. Oscar came from a family of cultural figures. He wrote a great book : The Picture Of Dorian Grey. Yet he is given credit for a genius that has little to do with him aside from association. For instance, Paul Gaugin gave him many of the ideas he used so well, as did all of the+others+from+his+tables+.+.+.
Thanks for the info on Wilde but my interest was on any possible connections
between AC & Wilde...
. . Sorry, I should have made my point clearer: As far as I remember, they did not meet; But, as AC was younger, he certainly looked up to that circle of people; like Paul Gauguin who he emulated in his paintings. The connections are vicarious, yet strong & vibrant. Oscar was a brilliant reflection of a fascinating group of people, many of whom were a major influence on Aleister.
Thanks for that H. It throws some light on a sketch by Monty Python about Whistler, Wilde and Bernard Shaw meeting the Prince of Wales and vying for attention. At one point Whistler makes some witticism and Wilde replies
"I wish I'd said that."
To which Whistler adds in a droll tone
"You will Oscar, you will!"
H & J,
Good stuff all round...wherever Mr.Wilde got his ideas from is interesting but irrelevant. Sounds like he was a lot like Mr.Page (& dare I say AC himself)
a sponge that soaked up all the sources around him and turned out some great, great works from them. Whistler may have said a lot of those things but he did
not put them together in the forms of Dorian Gray, The Importance of Being Earnest etc. same as Mr.Page using all his blues, folk & jazz references and turning out Zep's still unbeatable catalogue.
I'm a huge fan of comedy and Oscar is easily one of the funniest "Raconteurs" (by the sounds of it a most apt title) period...
If he had been around today he would have had a much easier time eventhough a hundred years on he STILL would not be
able, if they chose to, marry Lord Douglas in this maddeningly bizarre country of mine.
"We seem to have come soo far yet remain soo far behind" (just thought of that line...rather a good one & you can borrow it if you need Mr.Wilde!)
Have a splendid day...
Thanks for the input and onwards to the next topic I believe
I dont find "where Oscar got his ideas from" to be irrelevant, but I like that you gave me an opportunity to talk about him! Thank you, & you are also Welcome! - If you want to abandon the subject, I respect that.
Whilst I am sure that a meeting has not been recorded there is a definate connection through the publisher Leonard Charles Smithers (1861-1907) who published Wilde's last three books after his imprisonment. I do not have the exact wording to hand but recall that there is a favourable comment in Wilde's published letters to White Stains (1898) also published of course by Smithers. Crowley interestly uses the false imprint place Cosmopoli in Curate's Garden as used in the homosexual novel Teleny which has been attributed to Wilde. There is something on this in the recently pulished "Oscars Books" I think.
aha & thank you I'll look into "Oscars Books"...much obliged imbas
Both men enjoyed the friendship of the novelist Ada Leverson. Wilde gave her the nickname Sphinx and Crowley wrote a poem to her by that name. Crowley also favourably reviewed two of her books under the byline Felix and there are lines in Liber Stellae Rubae an acronym of which spells her name.
Maybe Oscar Wilde was thinking of Ada Leverson when he came up with his devil’s maxim:
Women are like the Sphinx but without secrets.