Saturday, January 16, 2016
Oscar Wilde's Scandalous Summer
It's amazing to think that someone could write a whole book about the eight weeks that Oscar Wilde spent in Worthing during the summer of 1894, but Antony Edmonds has done so. And it is a pretty interesting read, mostly concerning itself with one local sixteen year old boy, Alphonse Conway, whom Wilde befriended and seduced. Alphonse was of a different sort from the rent boys that Wilde mostly entertained in London, but in the aftermath of the Wilde trials in early 1895, for which Alphonse gave a statement about Wilde's manual and oral stimulations, the shame forced Alphonse and his mother to disappear from the public record. They presumably changed their names when they moved, possibly to Australia, as Edmonds details in some curious and frustrating detective work in an Appendix. One wishes to know what really happened to Alphonse after 1895, and hopefully the story will surface completely someday. Meanwhile, here is an entertaining discussion of Wilde's summer liaison.