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Not the achievements of biography's usual subjects; those obliterating winners like Dolly's uncle Oscar whose stories have almost erased riveting histories like Dolly's own And she uncovers never before published evidence of the hidden life of the Wilde family and of the extraordinary salon society of Natalie Clifford Barney Dolly Wilde's longest and most fatal attachmen I expected to love this book I am obsessed with Oscar Wilde and was ecstatic to find out that he had a lesbian niece living in 1920s Paris But Joan Schenkar is obviously not a non fiction writer and ruins her account of this fascinating woman s life by indulging in flowery language hyperbole supposition and jumbled disorienting storytelling Nonetheless this book is still a valuable resource for any Wilde lover from the bits you can glean through the overwrought over long prose the timeline of Dolly s life uotes from her letters photographs and details from interviews by the author The Black Painting usual subjects; those obliterating winners like Dolly's Fire and Desire uncle Oscar whose stories have almost erased riveting histories like Dolly's own And she The Forgotten Memoir of John Knox uncovers never before published evidence of the hidden life of the Wilde family and of the extraordinary salon society of Natalie Clifford Barney Dolly Wilde's longest and most fatal attachmen I expected to love this book I am obsessed with Oscar Wilde and was ecstatic to find out that he had a lesbian niece living in 1920s Paris But Joan Schenkar is obviously not a non fiction writer and ruins her account of this fascinating woman s life by indulging in flowery language hyperbole supposition and jumbled disorienting storytelling Nonetheless this book is still a valuable resource for any Wilde lover from the bits you can glean through the overwrought over long prose the timeline of Dolly s life The Illusionists uotes from her letters photographs and details from interviews by the author

Read & download Ö PDF, eBook or Kindle ePUB Ü Joan Schenkar

Truly Wilde The Unsettling Story of Dolly Wilde Oscar's Unusual Niece

A born writer who never completed the creative life promised by her famous name and gorgeous imagination Dolly Wilde was charged with charm brilliantly witty changeable as refracting light and loaded with sexual allure She made her career in the salons and in the bedrooms of some of London's and Paris' most interesting women and men Attracting people of taste and talent w This book about a fascinating life that went noticed but unrecorded gets five stars from me as a writer on the merits of its bold experimental structure and style which Dolly Wilde would have taken seriously That shows a respect for the subject combined with a gutsiness that is to the biographer s creditAs a reader I rate it differently This review explains whyThe biographer was clearly in service to the subject in a way much profound than one reviewer here dismissed when calling the book a glorified obituary Her service to the reader is also to be taken seriously but it will not always be appreciated as I try to explain belowI like Jesse Kornbluth s very positive review dealing mostly with who Dolly was and why we should carethe one that turned up on my Kindle when I downloaded this book But I wasn t able to find it on If you can find it you might enjoy that reviewAnother element worthy of praise is the novelistic one Novelistic passages in biography are always bad unless the author lives and breathes with her subject They get worse when the author clearly doesn t understand her subject or its milieu Later they can become downright embarrassing if or when it becomes clear that the biographer gets facts wrong misses key facts or has perhaps through no fault of her own been prevented from knowing them This is a case where hidden facts do in fact affect the life story Schenkar set out to tell What s remarkable is this biography does not suffer very much from it and again I credit the author s talent She was able to plumb the depths of her subject and get it right even with few facts at her disposal This biographer clearly lived breathed and understood her subject As a result passages like this are not only fun to read but they are true Before falling in love with Natalie Barney Dolly had been able to forget herself whenever she wanted So why do you see three stars at the top of my review Well I ve only given Sybille Bedford s best novel four stars which shows either that a I have no idea how to rate good reads or b I am trying my best to weigh my experience properly for this forum knowing that writers read differently than readers who don t write And although well worth it and in spite of the delightful rive gauche walk through Paris that Schenkar opens the book with I really felt I was walking alongside Dolly fresh as a daisy what an unforgettable stroll this wasn t an easy biography to readDo you know the expression A man s man Well in her milieu between the wars Dolly Wilde was a woman s woman Arresting irresistible scintillating attention getting and jealousy producingIn the spirit of her subject Schenkar has delivered a biographer s biography Yes it s about someone you ll never forget Someone you won t be able to read about elsewhere But it is experimental like its subject herself The book is actually bum s out the window risk takingly experimental as my university mentor would say It dispenses with chronology in lieu of taking a thematic approach and it is uniuely inventive It dares to publish a palmist s reading of Wilde s hand for instance which the author has been ridiculed for But the decision is as internally consistent as it is entertaining Besides Schenkar s subjects all indulged in as much palmistry as possible Pun fully intended The best biographers reject no workable material I know of writers going much further afield than the psychic for analysis The crticism of Schenkar in this regard is hypocritical if you truly appreciate the art and craft of life writing If you don t and you just want a straightforward read then this book won t be for you It teaches you as much about writing and reading for better or for worse in sickness and in health as it teaches about the subject It is designed and built by a seriously clever mind And that is rare these daysAnd then there s Dolly Wilde Less of an enigma perhaps to us than she was to those who loved her excepting Honey Harris who steals all her scenes under Schenkar s deft treatment of Harris s friendship with Wilde Maybe we are the first generation to really get Dolly now that there s been a Bowlby and an attachment theoryand the novels of Edward St Aubynand now that most of us know or can learn about the realities of drug dependency and heroin addiction I recently re read in Richard Ellman s standard Wilde biography Robbie Ross s terrible moving account of the last hours and minutes of the life of Oscar Wilde and it struck me how similar his death was to his niece s in key respects Both were painful and undignified Both took place in hotel rooms Both died penniless But Oscar Wilde died in the care of a man who loved him Dolly Wilde died alone or else she was left for deadDolly Wilde s unfulfilled promise seems legitimately artistic today We understand now what Lady Slane felt alone in understanding in All Passion Spent Artists of appreciation are no less gifted than artists of achievement Natalie Barney herself aimed to make her life into a poem Dolly Wilde actually did it Well Barney would say wary of sharing the limelight perhaps But they were different poemsIndeed Wilde s omitted the laundry lists the itineraries the hotel bills the thank you notesIn any case I read Wilde s life as less of a failure than it seemed at the time to Natalie or Janet Flanner or Lily de Gramont to take three women who apparently appreciated andor loved and were flummoxed by DollyAs a reader I kept wishing I could have spent time with her during the horrors of war when she clearly came into her own I admit however to a failure of imagination where Toughie Carstairs is concerned How did those two ever get together So much of what happened during wartime as much if not as what had gone before might have lifted some of the mistthe mystery that Dolly remains because of gaps in the record that even Schenkar with her forensic gifts could not fillWhat we get with Truly Wilde in the end is a glimpse into the future of biography just as we get in books by Diana Souhami who since her own book about Dolly and her milieu Wild Girls has started to incorporate fiction to flesh out meaning where a credible and thorough biographer cannot fill crucial gaps in the historical record It makes me wonder what materials future biographers will be working with Or even presentingIn the future will we still reckon intellectual and to some extent cultural history knowing that many key players lived noticed but unrecorded lives Won t television film internet and radio capture and memorialize all but the most reclusive literary musical artistic and conversational geniuses even the girlfriends the boyfriends and the young suicides like Elliot Smith Won t future biographers know much about minor thinkers and talkers and performers like Fran Liebowitz John Waters Susan Sontag Candace Bergen Carrie Fisher Margaret Cho Gore Vidal and so many others who make major contributions but do not did not produce enough books plays or films to satisfy accepted criteria for a productive artist of major rank I wonder Take this example of how Truly Wilde stays with me Somebody just sent me a weblink to Rory Kennedy s filmed conversation with her cousin s aunt Lee Radziwill and I was riveted Lee Radziwill no rebel she No intellect of the first order Hardly Yet it was the radical practiced artistry that Radziwill invested in her spoken words something Kennedy knew how to bring out it was her conversation that caught me and held me Kennedy had searched for and captured something I hadn t expected something I don t see or hear in the general media something that only gifted biographers usually capture It wasn t a fact or a topic It was an atmosphere And it carried the faintest scent of the atmosphere that Schenkar has also captured however fleetingly around the radical Dolly Wilde Kennedy s filmed chat with Radziwill was it biography the kind of biography of Wilde as a scintillating conversationalist that we wish Schenkar could have offered up alongside the palmist s reading as proof of life Or is the perfect interview merely a document a tool of biography to be interpreted Will we have or fewer of these rare captured moments on film that reveal entire characters and outlooks in a gesture a glance a tossed off remark a refusal to answer Or was the Kennedy interview a fluke and will these revelations remain largely the domain of talented authors biographers and novelistsOne thing s for sure The camera will still miss many worthy lesbian subjects particularly from privileged backgrounds who guard their privacy I am not sure how that gap will ever be bridged For cultural icons in the era before television at least we have Joan Schenkar who has given us Dolly Wilde

Review Truly Wilde The Unsettling Story of Dolly Wilde Oscar's Unusual Niece

Herever she went she drenched her prodigious talents in liuids and chemicals burnt up her opportunities in flamboyant affairs and created continuous sensations by the ways in which she seemed to be re living the life of her infamous uncle In this revolutionary and very modern biography Joan Schenkar provides a fascinating look at what it means to live with the talents but Dorothy Dolly Wilde Oscar Wilde s niece was intelligent witty and enchanting dying exactly as she had lived vividly rather violently and at a very good address She attracted people of wealth taste and talent as she burned up her opportunities in flamboyant lesbian affairs and numerous addictions She seemed to be re living the life of her infamous uncle interesting biography of an interesting individual unfortunately poorly written


10 thoughts on “Truly Wilde The Unsettling Story of Dolly Wilde Oscar's Unusual Niece

  1. says:

    I've returned to this book several times over the years Ever since I first read this I have been captivated by the life of Dolly Wilde and this book captured the personality of a person of who so few things are really known that I find that alone remarkable She was fascinating and tragic An artist of the spoken word who in another era might have become a public figure worshiped like Margaret Cho or other witty women She

  2. says:

    This book about a fascinating life that went noticed but unrecorded gets five stars from me as a writer on the merits of its bold experimental structure and style which Dolly Wilde would have taken seriously That shows a respect for the subject combined with a gutsiness that is to the biographer's creditAs a reader I rate it differently This review explains whyThe biographer was clearly in service to the subject in a way much profound tha

  3. says:

    Pale lunar enchantress You compel my imagination make turmoil of my thoughts and every night I miss your loverâ€

  4. says:

    Dear Joan Schenkarbelieve it or not people who read biographies do anticipate a certain amount of imagining how things wer

  5. says:

    This is a weird somewhat interesting but mostly tedious and almost surreal book about Dolly Wilde Oscar Wilde's niece The author seems infatuated with her and has written hundreds of pages describing the possibilities of her wit and intellect where in fact she appears to have never done anything except run around with the fast crowd of Paris

  6. says:

    Dorothy Dolly Wilde Oscar Wilde's niece was intelligent witty and enchanting dying exactly as she had lived vividly rather violently and at a very good address She attracted people of wealth taste and talent as she burned up her opportunities in flamboyant lesbian affairs and numerous addictions She seemed to be re livin

  7. says:

    This was a fascinating biography Schenkar writes of these women differently than Faderman or other writers you won’t feel depths of

  8. says:

    A random used bookstore find comes through with the good gossip

  9. says:

    I expected to love this book I am obsessed with Oscar Wilde and was ecstatic to find out that he had a lesbian niece living in 1920s Paris But Joan Schenkar is obviously not a non fiction writer and ruins her account of this fascinating woman's life by indulging in flowery language hyperbole supposition and jumbled disorienting storytelling Nonetheless this book is still a valuable resource for any Wilde lover from the bits you

  10. says:

    incredible story of Wilde's niece and the Natalie Barney salon in Paris between the wars

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