The Humbling of Oscar Wilde, Part 1

Michael Vick is not the only one to have gone to prison, lost everything, and […]

Todd Brewer / 1.21.11

Michael Vick is not the only one to have gone to prison, lost everything, and somehow through it, find an abundance life and repentance. The following begins a short series that highlights some of his points of truly inspired brilliance. More than his “Ballad of Reading Gaol,” his prose letters to friends sent out once a month provide a window to Wilde in his darkest hour. As we will find, Wilde’s suffering has led to genuinely Christian self-understanding. The series begins with the beginning of his description of Jesus as he understood him:

“Christ’s place is indeed with the poets. His whole conception of Humanity sprang right out of the imagination and can only be realised by it. What God was to the Panteist, man was to him. He was the first to conceive the divided races as a unity. Before his time there had been gods and men. He alone saw that on the hills of life there were but God and Man

“There is still something to me almost incredible in the idea of a young Galilean peasant imagining that he could bear on his own shoulders the burden of the entire world: all that had been done and suffered : the sins of Nero, of Caeser Borgia, of Alexander VI., and of him who was Emperor of Rome and Priest of the Sun: the sufferings of those whose name is Legion and whose dwelling is among the tombs, oppressed nationals, factory children, thieves, people in prison, outcasts, those who are dumb under oppression and whose silence is heard only of God: and not merely imagining this but actually achieving it, so that at the present moment all who come in contact with his personality, even though they may neither bow to his altar nor kneel before his priest, yet somehow find that the ugliness of their sins is taken away and the beauty of their sorrow revealed to them.”

For part two, go here.