‘'In all his life [Oscar] has never written me a letter that was unkind or at least unloving and to see anything terrible in his handwriting written directly to me would almost kill me.’'
This was written by Lord Alfred Douglas in 1897, before the contents of Oscar Wilde’s long letter written in prison and addressed to Douglas, De Profundis, were revealed; in which Wilde indicted Lord Alfred’s vanity and blamed him for his downfall ‒ "appetite without distinction, desire without limit, and formless greed."
Years after Oscar Wilde's death, two of his closest friends, Lord
Alfred Douglas and his literary executor Robert Ross-- both had been
Wilde's lovers--engaged in a bitter battle over Wilde's legacy and who was to blame for his downfall and early death. The centerpiece of the conflict was Ross's handling of Wilde's prison manuscript, De
Profundis. Each man tried to use intimate secrets from their once close friendship against the other. The furious dispute led to stalking, witness tampering, prison and a series of dramatic lawsuits. The feud had long-lasting repercussions, not only for the two men, but also for how we remember Oscar Wilde today.
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