Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist

Longhaired 19th Century Types

1. My hair is now shoulder length- and a little bit more- and if I didn't wash it regularly (which is a bore) I would look like one of Susanna Clarke's working-class magicians- Vinculus or Childermass. I am currently re-reading Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell- which is why the comparison occurs to me. It is such a good book!

2. Talking about long-haired 19th century types, I've never rated Oscar Wilde very highly as a writer or liked him much as a person but I've always found him interesting. I was thinking about this yesterday- wondering why I'll read anything about him that comes my way, though not (perish the thought) the man's own books- and came to the conclusion it's because he's such a riddle. G.K Chesterton, who disliked Wilde more than I do but couldn't stop talking about him, propounded what I think is the best answer to the riddle. Wilde, he said- in so many words- was a charlatan, a faker, a poseur- but above all else- and it was the truest thing about him- an Irish swashbuckler. It was in his nature to oppose, provoke, annoy, cut a dash, do dangerous things. I think that's as true as any simplification can ever be- and it's why I didn't buy Stephen Fry's version of him. Fry's Wilde was too passive- a man to whom things were done rather than a man who made things happen; he just wasn't piratical enough.
  • Post a new comment


    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.