Oscar Wilde: His Life and Confessions

Read by Martin Geeson

(4.7 stars; 26 reviews)

Consumers of biography are familiar with the division between memoirs of the living or recently dead written by those who "knew" the subject more or less intimately, and the more objective or scholarly accounts produced by later generations.

In the case of Wilde, as presented to us by Frank Harris, we are in a way doubly estranged from the subject. We meet with Oscar the charismatic talker, whose tone of voice can never be reproduced – even if a more scrupulous biographer had set down his words accurately – and we are perhaps already aware of him as Wilde the self-destructive celebrity who uneasily fills the place of the premier gay icon and martyr in our contemporary view.

Neither of these images will do. We need to read as many accounts as possible. Harris, though himself a self-advertising literary and sexual buccaneer, takes a wincingly representative view of Wilde’s homophile activity: for him it is a patrician excrescence, the abominable vice of the few, contracted at English boarding schools – though thankfully “not infectious” as far as he himself is concerned.

What a long road we have to travel to arrive at the essentially gay man of today! But there are many shortcuts to take us back to where we came from… (Summary by Martin Geeson) (16 hr 11 min)


Author's Introduction 9:26 Read by Martin Geeson
I. Oscar's Father and Mother on Trial 36:50 Read by Martin Geeson
II. Oscar Wilde as a Schoolboy 22:57 Read by Martin Geeson
III. Trinity, Dublin: Magdalen, Oxford 23:29 Read by Martin Geeson
IV. Formative Influences: Oscar's Poems 41:04 Read by Martin Geeson
V. Oscar's Quarrel with Whistler and Marriage 30:37 Read by Martin Geeson
VI. Oscar Wilde's Faith and Practice 19:20 Read by Martin Geeson
VII. Oscar's Reputation and Supporters 17:27 Read by Martin Geeson
VIII. Oscar's Growth to Originality About 1890 36:44 Read by Martin Geeson
IX. The Summer of Success: Oscar's First Play 19:28 Read by Martin Geeson
X. The First Meeting with Lord Alfred Douglas 21:50 Read by Martin Geeson
XI. The Threatening Cloud Draws Nearer 33:33 Read by Martin Geeson
XII. Danger Signals: the Challenge 47:05 Read by Martin Geeson
XIII. Oscar Attacks Queensberry and is Worsted 42:55 Read by Martin Geeson
XIV. How Genius is Persecuted in England 57:26 Read by Martin Geeson
XV. The Queen vs. Wilde: The First Trial 51:53 Read by Martin Geeson
XVI. Escape Rejected: The Second Trial and Sentence 52:18 Read by Martin Geeson
XVII. Prison and the Effects of Punishment 42:23 Read by Martin Geeson
XVIII. Mitigation of Punishment; but not Release 31:38 Read by Martin Geeson
XIXa. His St. Martin's Summer: His Best Work - Part One 43:28 Read by Martin Geeson
XIXb. His St. Martin's Summer: His Best Work - Part Two 33:34 Read by Martin Geeson
XX. The Results of His Second Fall: His Genius 48:32 Read by Martin Geeson
XXI. His Sense of Rivalry; His Love of Life and Laziness 30:54 Read by Martin Geeson
XXII. "A Great Romantic Passion!" 33:43 Read by Martin Geeson
XXIII. His Judgments of Writers and of Women 34:50 Read by Martin Geeson
XXIV. We Argue About His "Pet Vice" and Punishment 37:10 Read by Martin Geeson
XXV. The Last Hope Lost 40:07 Read by Martin Geeson
XXVI. The End 17:43 Read by Martin Geeson
XXVII. A Last Word 13:19 Read by Martin Geeson



(5 stars)

Keith Harris does an excellent job in his portrayal of his friend Mr Oscar Wilde. He not only celebrates his talents but balances this with critiques of the man both as a writer and a "personality'. The book is, in places, biased but then all biographies are naturally so inclined. Perhaps where the book best shines is in Harris' recollections of their numerous colourful and somewhat combative conversations on all matters. A thoroughly researched and great read from start to finish, documenting first the boy, the man, the society favourite, the society outcast, through to Wilde's untimely death. Martin Geeson excels even his natural vocal alchemy to turn this book into a work of art. An absolute joy!

(5 stars)

Very informative read on a man determined to be Himself; learning all the time in this wonderful, bittersweet existence he became, like ALL humankind, conscious and aware of. Great write and superbly read by Martin--- love his voice and talent!

great book & great reader!

(5 stars)

The book itself is one of my favorite bios ever! And the readers treatment adds a whole new coloring to this insightful veiw of a beloved personage.

(5 stars)

This is an intimate and sympathetic description by a close friend and writer. It is well written and very well red


(5 stars)

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Five stars to the reader. Thank you Mr Geeson for yet another wonderful narration.

Frank Biography !

(5 stars)

Top marks to the reader! I've been listening to these as I do my artwork.

Highest Marks for the Reader.

(5 stars)

The reader serves up a wonderful reading of this interesting history.

I adored every moment!

(3.5 stars)

A beautiful account by one of Wildes contemporaries!