Wilde's Women: How Oscar Wilde Was Shaped by the Women He Knew
Hailed as a gay icon and pioneer of individualism, Oscar Wilde's insistence that 'there should be no law for anybody' made him a staunch defender of gender equality. Throughout his life from his relationship with his extraordinary mother Jane and the tragedy of his sister Isola's early death to his accomplished wife Constance and a coterie of other free-thinking writers, actors and artists, women were a central aspect of his life and career. Wilde's Women is the first book to tell the story of his female friends and colleagues who traded witticisms with Wilde but also gave him access to vital publicity and whose ideas he gave expression through his social comedies. Author Eleanor Fitzsimons reframes Wilde's story and his legacy through the women in his life including such fascinating figures as Florence Balcombe who left him for Bram Stoker, actress Lillie Langtry (for a while an inseparable friend) and his tragic and witty niece Dolly who bore a strong resemblance to the writer and loved fast cars, cocaine and foreign women. Full of fascinating detail and anecdotes Wilde's Women relates the untold story of how the writer played a vitally sympathetic role on behalf of many women and how they supported him in the midst of a changing Victorian society.
'Engaging and sympathetic biography, which also illustrates extremely well the circles of artistic and literary women of the time.' Independent on Sunday 'Over a century on, Oscar Wilde continues to hypnotise us... Eleanor Fitzsimmons is to be congratulated.' Simon Callow, Guardian 'Lively new study... providing a broad cultural history of professional women's lives in Wilde's time.' The Irish Times
Eleanor Fitzsimons is a researcher, writer, journalist and occasional broadcaster specialising in historical and current feminist issues . Her work has been published in a range of newspapers and journals including the Sunday Times, the Guardian and the Irish Times and she is a regular radio and television contributor.