Celebrating the one hundredth anniversary of Oscar Wilde's death in Paris, this is the biography of the man who sat at his deathbed and unfailingly defended his reputation. Robert Baldwin Ross left Cambridge University without a degree, but he'd nonetheless become a pivotal figure in London's literary and artistic circles by his early twenties. By then he had also disclosed his homosexuality to his family - to no shock or horror - and had seduced the flamboyant Irish wit and playwright Oscar Wilde. Unlike Wilde, however, Robbie Ross managed to live his life openly at the same time that he placed himself firmly within the London establishment as a writer, critic, and art dealer, not to mention as a frequent guest of the Asquiths at 10 Downing Street. How he did it, in an era when disgrace and imprisonment were the order of the day for sexual 'inversion', make of this biography a compelling narrative of moral courage and personal integrity. When all of England condemned Oscar Wilde, Ross stood by his mentor and later served as his literary executor. The pluckish Ross also provided a haven for young literary figures like Siegfried Sassoon, Wilfred Owen, Osbert Sitwell, and Robert Graves during the years of World War I, and less happily, he suffered the persecution of Oscar Wilde's nemesis, Lord Alfred Douglas. Peopled with three generations of such illustrious characters, Robbie Ross brightly illuminates the changing attitudes and social mores that brought late Victorian and Edwardian London into modern times.
About Jonathan Fryer
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Published October 1, 2000
by Carroll & Graf Publishers.
Biographies & Memoirs, History, Gay & Lesbian, Literature & Fiction, Travel.