literature meme | 6/6 prose writers | Oscar Wilde
His letters show that the perception of Wilde as the lightweight author of society comedies, a few memorable poems and some fairy stories must finally make room for Wilde as a hard-working professional writer, deeply interested by the issues of his day and carrying in his intellectual baggage something that we all too frequently overlook, a quite extraordinary classical, literary and philosophical education.
Here, for example, is Wilde, expressing to the manager of Casell’s publishing firm his ideas on its magazine The Lady’s World, which Wilde was to edit: ”It seems to me that, at present, it is too feminine, and not sufficiently womanly. We should take a wider range, as well as a high standpoint, and deal not merely with what women wear, but with what they think, and what they feel.”
Which is not to say that he didn’t care for fashion: “The modern, high-heeled boot is, in fact, merely the clog of the time of Henry VI, with the front prop left out, and its inevitable effect is to throw the body forward, to shorten the steps, and consequently to produce that want of grace which always follows want of freedom.”