Beyond the Book: Background information when reading Oscar Wilde and a Death of No Importance

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Oscar Wilde and a Death of No Importance

by Gyles Brandreth

Oscar Wilde and a Death of No Importance
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  • First Published:
    Jan 2008, 368 pages
    Paperback:
    Jan 2008, 368 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Vy Armour

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Although married and the father of two children, Wilde's intimate association with Alfred Douglas led to his trial on charges of homosexuality (illegal in Britain in 1895). Wilde was sentenced to two years hard labor for the crime of sodomy. In spite of his fame as a successful playwright including The Importance of Being Earnest (1895) and A Woman of No Importance (1893) he died penniless in 1900 in a cheap hotel in Paris at the age of 46. More about Wilde at the official website owned by CMG Worldwide, who appear to have a thriving business protecting the intellectual property rights of dead celebrities!

In The Death of No Importance, Oscar Wilde makes reference to Dr. Thomas Holmes, often referred to as the father of modern embalming. A medical student in the 1840's, Holmes developed a solution which was manufactured commercially, selling for $3.00 per gallon. During the Civil War, Dr. Holmes claimed to have embalmed 4028 Union soldiers ...

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