Oscar Wilde – The Ballad of Reading Gaol

The Ballad of Reading Gaol 1899 Title Page

Oscar in his third and final act was perhaps on the surface a different sort of animal; withdrawn and solemn, altogether lacking in the choice witticisms that made his name. I like to think that nothing had changed – here is the honesty and compassion that I see in his essays and his novel, just with the artifice relentlessly stripped away, and infused with an enforced humility in the face of the forces of fate. For all that, the resignation is still shocking in its cold fury, the numbing repetition of the simple meter mirroring the tramp of prisoners around the yard, the descriptions of the execution almost unbearably vivid. I’m not really a poetry person (hopefully with this project that can change) but this gets me *there* more than almost any other text.

The entire text is here and (if you are in the mood for something grim and depressing) I urge you to read it:

https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Ballad_of_Reading_Gaol

And this is the best reading I can find of it on youtube:

 

 

One thought on “Oscar Wilde – The Ballad of Reading Gaol”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s