More Oscar Wilde in As We Were by E.F. Benson

E. F. Benson, a closeted gay man, was quite scathing in his view of Wilde, who he saw as effeminate and unnecessarily flamboyant. In a passage where he is discussing the great convesationalists of the 1890s, Benson writes:





"Oscar Wilde...seldom joined in general conversation because he conducted the most of it himself."

E.F. Benson, As We Were, p. 203

Ouch!
Of course, by the time Benson got around to writing this memoir (in 1932) Wilde was long dead and so he didn't have to worry about the repurcussions of what he was saying.
But for most of us who write memoir the feelings of friends and family are still very much to be considered. How much of ourselves do we give away, and how much of our friends do we expose? Tricky questions indeed.
Next month I am on a panel at the Emerging Writers' Festival one-day roadshow in Sydney at the NSW Writers' Centre discussing exactly these issues. If you are interested in writing memoir (or anything else, for that matter) I think you would find the whole day terrifically interesting and inspiring, so do consider coming along. More details here.

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