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Book recommendation: „De Profundis“, Oscar WILDE

August 29, 2009

A fascinating portrait of Jesus Christ and the bitter state of Wilde’s soul

The brutal truth of Oscar Wilde’s words hit the reader, not to hurt her but to show her what the author thinks are the most important things in life. It is one of the few books that I re-read more often.

Oscar Wilde gives a report about the state of his soul, a very detailed description of his most intimate feelings, de profundis (lat. for „from very deep within“). The basic living conditions, the ice cold treatment and the monotone routines during his sentence in Reading Gaol (another spelling of Jail = Prison).

The bonvivant, this man who ate „of the fruit of all the trees in the garden of the world“, this aristocrat being used to live in ecstasy and luxury, experienced a kind of spiritual eye opening with the help or induced by the spartan living conditions.

After praising the virtues of modesty and simplicity, his extemely emotional exegesis of the words and deeds of Jesus Christ follows. Wilde transforms his heartfelt things into beautiful expressions. In my opinion one of the most moving and truthful works of art on the Son of God.

For non-native speakers like me, the rich vocabulary and some out-dated expressions may pose some challenges. Readable and enjoyable for learners with at least B2 / C1 language competency (according to the Common European Framework).

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