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How Oscar Wilde evolved from poet and playwright to symbol of martyrdom and individualism

Oscar Wilde’s birthday is Oct. 16 — he was born on that day in 1854 — and there’s a simple way to both celebrate it and give yourself a present: Pick up a copy of “Oscar Wilde: A Life,” by Matthew Sturgis, an authority on the 1890s whose previous works focused on the artists Walter Sickert and Aubrey Beardsley. Without supplanting Richard Ellmann’s beautifully written “Oscar Wilde” — which a young reviewer bearing my name enthusiastically reviewed in 1988 — Sturgis’s biography is now the fullest one-volume account of the iconic fin-de-siècle writer, aesthete, wit and gay martyr. Read more

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