Have been watching Wilde
and being sad and introspective, although not as sad as I was after watching The Hours
last week. I own far too many depressing films about writers.
For us there is only one season, the season of sorrow. The very sun and moon seem taken from us. Outside, the day may be blue and gold, but the light that creeps down through the thickly-muffled glass of the small iron-barred window beneath which one sits is grey and niggard. It is always twilight in one’s cell, as it is always twilight in one’s heart. And in the sphere of thought, no less than in the sphere of time, motion is no more. The thing that you personally have long ago forgotten, or can easily forget, is happening to me now, and will happen to me again to-morrow.
I must say to myself that I ruined myself, and that nobody great or small can be ruined except by his own hand. I am quite ready to say so. I am trying to say so, though they may not think it at the present moment. This pitiless indictment I bring without pity against myself. Terrible as was what the world did to me, what I did to myself was far more terrible still.
-- De Profundis, Oscar Wilde
It is so easy and so tempting to blame Bosie for it all. In Joe Cinque's Consolation
Helen Garner writes how her "girl-hackles" were instantly raised at the sight of Anu Singh, Joe Cinque's girlfriend and murderer. My girl-hackles jump at the sight of Bosie Douglas.
There is something so sulky about his mouth, in every photograph. He seems a spoiled child, a petulant child, although in all likelihood also an abused child. He does not come across well in most accounts, but really, he does not come across well in life
. What can you say about a man who declared he regretted meeting Oscar Wilde, but wrote two books about his life with Wilde as well as an autobiography, and then sued anyone who mentioned him in the same sentence as Wilde? "I wish everyone would stop talking about me and Oscar," you can imagine Bosie sighing, as he puts the finishing touches on Oscar Wilde and Myself
. I should mention that I have not read Bosie's books, although I should quite like to. I do wonder what it is that he wanted everyone so badly to stop talking about that he had to write about it at length.
However, I can say this for Bosie: Oscar Wilde loved him. It's kind of crazy and strange and bizarre, even, to think that Oscar truly had it in him to love this selfish man who did nothing but hurt him, but it's really very human, in the end, isn't it? We don't always love the people who are best for us. And what I find saddest, and most human, and most loving, is that Oscar went back to Bosie in the end. He did not blame him entirely for his own suffering, although he would not have been wrong to do so. He did not wish Bosie to suffer as he did; he did not blame Bosie as I would like to. He went back to him, as lovers do.
It was not a happy ending, such as lovers have. I always think of 1984
, and Winston and Julia, and how after torture, "You don’t feel the same towards the other person any longer." I don't understand how Oscar could have felt the same towards Bosie, and perhaps he didn't. Perhaps that's why they separated again. There is plenty we might say about Bosie, but I think the worst we can say of Oscar Wilde is that he loved not wisely but too well.