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De Profundis (Anglais)

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Preface by Richard Ellmann

De Profundis is a kind of dramatic monologue, which constantly questions and takes into account the silent recipient's supposed responses. Given the place where it was written, Wilde might have been expected to confess his guilt. Instead he refuses to admit that his past conduct with young men was guilty, and declares that the laws by which he was condemned were unjust. The closest he comes to the subject of homosexuality is to say, impenitently, that what the paradox was for him in the realm of thought, sexual deviation was in the realm of conduct. More than half of De Profundis is taken up by his confession, not of his own sins, but of Bosie's. He evokes two striking images for that young man. One is his favorite passage from Agamemnon, about bringing up a lion's whelp inside one's house only to have it run amok. Aeschylus compared it to Helen, Wilde to Douglas. The other is Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, who have no realization of Hamlet's tragedy, being "the little cups that can hold so much and no more."

The main theme of self-recrimination is that he did not break with Bosie. But his letter is an attempt to restore relations. And while he admits to "weakness," he explains the weakness as due to his affection, good nature, aversion to scenes, incapacity to bear resentment, and desire to keep life comely by ignoring what he considered trifles. His weakness was strength. The gods, he has discovered, make instruments to plague us out of our virtues as well as our vices.

Wilde acknowledges that along with good qualities, he was "the spendthrift of my own genius." But he passes quickly over this defect, and those that attend it. Much of De Profundis is an elegy for lost greatness. As he whips his own image, he cannot withhold his admiration for what that image was. Elegy generates eulogy. He heightens the pinnacle from which he has fallen:

I was a man who stood in symbolic relations to the art and culture of my age. I had realised this for myself at the very dawn of my manhood, and had forced my age to realise it afterwards. . . . Byron was a symbolic figure, but his relations were to the passion of his age and its weariness of passion. Mine were to something more noble, more permanent, of more vital issue, of larger scope.

The gods had given me almost everything. I had genius, a distinguished name, high social position, brilliancy, intellectual daring: I made art a philosophy, and philosophy an art: I altered the minds of men and the colours of things: there was nothing I said or did that did not make people wonder: I took the drama, the most objective form known to art, and made it as personal a mode of expression as the lyric or the sonnet, at the same time that I widened its range and enriched its characterisation: drama, novel, poem in rhyme, poem in prose, subtle or fantastic dialogue, whatever I touched I made beautiful in a new mode of beauty: to truth itself I gave what is false no less than what is true as its rightful province, and showed that the false and the true are merely forms of intellectual existence. I treated Art as the supreme reality, and life as a mere mode of fiction: I awoke the imagination of my century so that it created myth and legend around me: I summed up all systems in a phrase, and all existence in an epigram.

Continued... --Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Broché .

Revue de presse

RIVETING TO LISTEN TO… Redgrave gets clear away from the ordinary conventions of reading aloud: we appear to be in Wilde's head as he composes his letter to Douglas. For this monologue intérieur, sometimes quizzical, sometimes forthright, sometimes self-aborbed, Redgrave adopts an Irish accent of considerable mellifluousness. Holland's introduction is straightforward and level-headed. Together the two have produced a moving and memorable recording… a notable addition to any Wilde collection. --Oscholar

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MY DEAR ROBBIE,-I want you to have a letter written at once to Mr. - the solicitor, stating that as my wife has promised to settle a third on me, in the case of her predeceasing me, I do not wish any opposition to be made to her purchasing my life interest. Lire la première page
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Format: Broché
Il aurait été bon de mettre en évidence qu'il s'agissait de la première édition du livre, qui est donc parue avec de larges coupures dans le texte. Il s'agit donc de la version incomplète du livre!
Remarque sur ce commentaire 3 sur 3 ont trouvé cela utile. Avez-vous trouvé ce commentaire utile ? Oui Non Commentaire en cours d'envoi...
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Format: Broché
Pour tout mieux comprendre de l'oeuvre à travers l'homme. Il y a là du génie c'est certain, de l'humour à n'en point douter mais peut être aussi enfin un brin de sincérité. A moins que là encore il ne s'agisse que d'un énième masque.
Ce livre est aussi un bon prélude à la relecture des autres oeuvres de Wilde et en particulier ce livre culte qu'est The Picture of Dorian Gray.
Remarque sur ce commentaire 2 sur 3 ont trouvé cela utile. Avez-vous trouvé ce commentaire utile ? Oui Non Commentaire en cours d'envoi...
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) HASH(0x8f47ded0) étoiles sur 5 14 commentaires
37 internautes sur 37 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x900b6cd8) étoiles sur 5 Sincerely True Though Perhaps Not Truly Sincere 21 janvier 2000
Par Un client - Publié sur
Format: Broché
I agree that this is a book that should be read by all and I do not deny the great emotional intensity with which it is written. For these two reasons and the very nature of the work, it certainly merits a 5 star rating. However, my primary criticism is that I was discomforted with an underlying feeling of insincerity when I read the words Wilde wrote to Douglas. I do believe that the circumstances were as Wilde listed, but I did not feel that Wilde was as forgiving as he depicted himself to be, nor made as independent by the time in prison. I wondered if, after his release, he really was able to be happy without all the pleasures and indulgences he had known in life before his sentence; if his compromised social status was honestly no longer of importance to him. The lesson he claimed in humility were repeatedly contradicted with his own claim to genius and superiority. And though he claimed to have always wanted out of his involvement with Douglas (and I beleive he did) and that he had now found the strength to resist him, I felt quite certain that he wanted nothing more than Douglas' return to him. All of this aside, however, the letter still makes for an interesting study in the human emotion under almost inhumane conditions and should be read for such. Whether his feelings were authentic and carried on into his life, likewise contribute to the intrigue of the expressions. He wrote what he surely believed to be true at the time and that alone is worth the time spent reading it.
17 internautes sur 18 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x8fa1015c) étoiles sur 5 Strangely moving 21 mai 2002
Par Bill R. Moore - Publié sur
Format: Broché
One of the most famous - and infamous - letters in all of literature, De Profundis is a strange little piece of work: either much more than it appears on the surface, or much less. It is something I think everyone should read, if only for its insight into the human character, particularly that of one under great personal suffering. Wilde wrote this extraordinarily long letter from prison to Lord Alfred Douglas, his friend, lover, and the man who - by all accounts - was the reason Wilde was in jail in the first place. Despite repeated assertions in the first few pages alone to the contrary, Wilde seems reluctant to blame himself. He clearly blames Douglas to the hilt, and harbors a certain bitter resentment towards him. And yet... he clearly still hold much dear affection toward - and even loves - Douglas. He still seems to be asking for forgiveness - despite the fact that, by all accounts hardly excluding his own, he was the man wronged. It is quite clear from reading this letter that, desite the view history holds of him, Wilde was clearly a man of very high moral character. Certainly, one would not put Wilde atop a pedastal as the zenith of ethics - he himself says that morals contain "absolutely nothing" for him, and clearly admits - and is proud of - his having lived the high life to the hilt during his youth - but Wilde was a man of principles, and he stuck to those principles to the tragic, bitter end. Perhaps you might say he carried them too far. One gets the sense in reading this letter - or a biography of Wilde - that, not only could he have stopped his immiment imprisonment, but could have severed his ties with Douglas completely - had he wanted to. Apparently, he had his own utterly compelling reasons for not doing so. Whatever the case, Oscar Wilde is one of the most fundamentally and perpetually interesting characters in the whole of history. A self-described man of paradoxes - Wilde was subsequently the true essence of his time, while also being far ahead of his time - De Profundis makes for required reading by one of the most endlessly fascinating individuals you'll ever read about, and also provides a startling - indeed, perhaps too much so - insight into human nature.
De Profundis, though long for a letter, is not a long work in the conventional sense. Consequently, as many editions of Wilde's collected works are available, buying this on its own may be deemed questionable. I highly reccommend purchasing a Collected Works of Oscar if you have not done so already - it's well worth the price - but, should you desire to have more compact editions of specific works, an edition such as this will be privy to your needs.
11 internautes sur 12 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x8fa10180) étoiles sur 5 Bonafide powerhouse!! 26 décembre 2004
Par bookworm - Publié sur
Format: Broché
This is a very moving account of a heartbroken man who was betrayed by a person he loved dearly. The pain, the trauma, the love, the anger, the frustration is evident in every single well-written sentence. This book is not only a window into the mind of one of the best British writers of the late 19th century. It is also a timeless lesson on what can happen when one falls in love with someone who doesn't truly appreciate what they have before them. Of course there are other lessons to be learned in this book but rather than point them out here, I'd much prefer you pick up a copy of "De Profundis" as soon as you can.
6 internautes sur 6 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x8fa104a4) étoiles sur 5 A great edition of this under read book. 14 septembre 2009
Par Christine Richardson - Publié sur
A great edition of this under read book. I'm not going to comment on the content, other reviewers have done such an expert job that I would look very nonliterary. I can say two things:

1) I sat and thought about this book for a long, long time. To have had a mind and soul to write those lines would be worth anything, to have had this mind and soul to speak with would be amazing.

2) this is a beautiful edition, quite delightful and perfect for the sentiment.

5 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x8fa10144) étoiles sur 5 A unique book 16 août 2009
Par Gwynplane - Publié sur
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
The best and the saddest book by Oscar Wilde. I hope that sooner or later my English gets good enough to be able to appreciate it in its original language.
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