Thursday, November 22, 2012

by Franny Moyle

Constance Wilde (nee Lloyd) was not exactly someone that people knew and talked about. She came from the upper echelons of society and was quite beautiful. It was not until she married Oscar Wilde that she was brought forward into the limelight. Constance would balance the marriage: Oscar was flamboyant, extravagant, arrogant, and shocking and Constance was stylish (she followed Aestheticism), charming, honest, and innovative. She was quite prolific on her own becoming a writer of children's books, fluent in many languages, artistic, always taking up new challenges. Constance adored Oscar and constantly supported him. For the first couple of years, they were the "it" couple and society was entranced by the two of them. After the birth of their two sons Cyril and Vyvyan, Oscar was no longer attracted to Constance and turned his interest to young men instead. He became involved with Lord Alfred Douglas known as "Bosie" and their scandalous relationship ruined Oscar's reputation (he was thrown in prison) and destroyed Constance. She escaped to Switzerland with her children and changed their last name to Holland.
Many people are surprised to hear that Oscar Wilde was married since he was a well-known homosexual. Before he met his wife, he had many other relationships with women and men were never in the picture. That happened a few years after his marriage. Oscar was extremely vain and a very weak man who gave in to temptation much too often. Constance was loyal and loving in spite of his despicable acts and she hung on even though he treated her so miserably. She refused to see herself as a victim.
Constance is a great biography of a brave woman who accomplished quite a lot in her short life.
The book is well-written with tons of fascinating information.