DUBLIN (Reuters Life!) - Dublin-born poet, dramatist, wit Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde died 110 years ago, but has lost none of his power to entertain — especially this month.
Under the slogan “Go Wilde in the City,” Dublin City Council’s annual One City, One Book campaign throughout the month of April is encouraging everyone to read Wilde’s “The Picture of Dorian Gray.”
It is offering online literary notes to reinforce the significance of Wilde’s only novel, which was used as evidence against him in a trial that led to a two-year prison sentence for gross indecency and, more positively, his poem the “Ballad of Reading Gaol.”
For those for whom the written word is not enough, Dublin’s cinemas, libraries, churches, galleries and theatres are holding all kinds of Wilde events.
They range from workshops and walks to screenings of the film version of Wilde’s novel and an adaptation of his bitter-sweet short story “The Birthday of the Infanta.” An allegory of impossible love, it has been playing to full-houses at Bewley’s Cafe Theater in the city center.
For the truly dedicated, Facebook and Twitter sites have been set up to recreate the hothouse, aesthetic atmosphere inhabited by Wilde and his late 19th-century associates.
Wilde was buried in Paris, where he died in miserable circumstances, but Dublin has a memorial to Wilde portraying him in happier, decadent times.
Situated in the garden of Merrion Square, near the Georgian house where he lived as a child, it will remain a mecca long after April is out for would-be Wilde graffiti poets, intent on decorating it with witty one-liners.
reporting by Barbara Lewis, editing by Paul Casciato