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November 16, 2022


#NovNov22 De Profundis

by NancyElin


De Profundis and Other Writings by Oscar Wilde by Oscar Wilde Oscar Wilde

Finish date: November 2022
Genre: novella (short non-fiction)
Rating: B
Review: De Profundis (ISBN: 9788494856174)


Good news: This novella has been sitting in the centre of my book Complete Works of Oscar Wilde for more than 20 years on the bookshelf. I was always more interested in Wilde’s plays (The Importance of Being Earnest) of novels (The Picture of Dorian Gray). But now…thanks to the yearly challenge #NovNov22  promoting the joy of reading novellas De Profundis is off my TBR.


Bad news: There was a section in which Wilde goes off on a subplot: “Christ is the precursor of the romantic movement in life”. For those interested in this…it was an enlightening look at art vs Christ. But I was looking purely for the human side of Wilde…how spending time in jail changed him.
Don’t give up on this novella/short nonfiction) Part 1: description of Wilde’s feeling entering jail (excellent) Part 2: Christ vs Art (…this felt out of place and I did skim some pages) Part 3: Wilde revealing how being in jail changed him (excellent)


Bad news: A short novella of non-fiction is not easy to find! John Hersey’s Hiroshima is one of the most well known…but Oscar Wilde is there too!


Personal: When Oscar Wilde concentrates on his feelings about sorrow, finding humanity even in jail, revealing the acts of kindness he was shown and how he has changed…that is when this book hit home for me. Breathtaking how Wilde can express what it is like in a prison cell.
“I wept every dat at the same hour…that is not such a tragic thing as possibly it sounds to you. To those who are in prison tears are a part of every day’s experience .”
After being locked up he says:
“…we all look at nature too much and live with her too little.”
De Profunids, 50.000 words, is well worth your reading time.

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4 Comments Post a comment
  1. Nov 16 2022

    It’s good to know I’m not the only one who has had unread books on the shelf for that long!
    Personal – very thoughtful remarks on being in prison.

    • Nov 16 2022

      Carol, who knows who many “gems”are sitting on my bookshelf?
      That is why I like to join a Challenge TBR and make a list in December of some books that I must finally read in 2023. It is often via challenges (#NovNov and #AusReadingMonth, Reading IrelandMonth etc…) that I discover how much I still have to read.

  2. Nov 16 2022

    I really must get round to reading this Nancy, I’ve only read his plays before.

    • Nov 16 2022

      Cathy, this was such a short read and you’ve finished it in an afternoon!
      When Oscar Wilde in part 1 and 3 delves into his feelings…it is just incredibly moving. Part 2 as I said sounded like a piece of literature criticism…not what you would expect somebody writes about while he is in jail. I have several “complete” works by authors (O.Wilde, James Baldwin and all the short stories by John Updike). These types of books are impressively large and don’t attract my attention with a shiny covers. I have to specifically make a list of some of their stories and again “challenge” my self to finally try and finish these books..someday!


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