The first major biography of Oscar Wilde in thirty years is the most complete telling of his life and times to date.
Matthew Sturgis is a writer with a deep knowledge of the late Victorian cultural world. He is the author of acclaimed biographies of Aubrey Beardsley and Walter Sickert, as well as Passionate Attitudes: The English Decadence of the 1890s. He has contributed book reviews to the TLS, art criticism to Harpers & Queen and football reports to the Independent on Sunday. Matthew is on the editorial board of The Wildean, the journal of the Oscar Wilde society. Oscar: A Life is nominated for The Wolfson History Prize 2019.
'However much you think you know about Wilde, this book will absorb
and entertain you. It thickens the texture of every aspect of his
unique life - dazzling, decadent and doomed' Sunday
'A perfectly diligent book, and tells new readers all they possibly need to know about Wilde and his world' The Times.
'Authoritative, magnificently researched' Spectator.
'Matthew Sturgis uses new letters and a libel trial transcript to give a fuller picture of Oscar Wilde's dazzling rise and tragic fall ... He is a tremendous orchestrator of material, fastidious, unhurried, indefatigable' Observer.
'Oscar Wilde is more fashionable than ever, and his demise still makes for a gripping read ... Sturgis's account is fuller and in some ways more reliable [than Richard Ellmann's biography] ... Sturgis's account of the hearing at the Old Bailey is as gripping as it is grim' Guardian.
'[Sturgis's biography] is the first major attempt since that of Richard Ellman some 30 years ago, and it's much better ... This is simply the best modern biography of Wilde ... A terrific achievement' Evening Standard.
'The Book of the Year, perhaps of the decade ... Captures the wit, the love-ability, the dramatic genius, the insane self-destructiveness, the originality of Wilde ... [Sturgis] is the greatest chronicler of the 1890s we have ever had' TLS Book of the Year.
'Astute in its judgements and offers a sharp and detailed grasp of the period and an appreciation of Wilde's ambiguities' Irish Times, Books of the Year, Colm Toibin.
'The first major biography of the great Oscar Wilde in 30 years offers a sumptuous insight into the life of the famous - and infamous - fin de siecle playwright, author and poet' Mail on Sunday, Books of the Year, Craig Brown.
'Like Churchill, Oscar Wilde [...] is one of those people who never seem to stop inspiring outstanding biographies, and Oscar: A Life by Matthew Sturgis is one of the best, as well as the latest, of a long line' Sunday Telegraph.
'A first rate biography' Sunday Express, Books of the Year.
'This book provides not only a comprehensive record of [Wilde's] activities, friendships and financial affairs, but also a powerful sense of what it was actually like to know him ... This is undoubtedly the most comprehensive, reliable and clear-sighted study of Wilde ever likely to be written' Dublin Sunday Business Post.
'This excellent biography offers a deeper, more rounded picture of the writer's life, his rise to stardom, his fall and tragic final days ... At once entertaining and scholarly. The man himself would be proud' The Lady.