Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Notes For February 21st, 2017

This Day In Literary History

On February 21st, 1903, the legendary French writer Anaïs Nin was born. She was born Angela Anaïs Juana Antolina Rosa Edelmira Nin y Culmell in Neuilly-sur-Seine, a suburb of Paris.

Her father, Joaquin Nin, was a Cuban pianist and composer. Her mother, Rosa Culmell, was a classically trained singer of French and Danish descent. She had two younger brothers, Thorvald and Joaquin.

When Anaïs was a young girl, her family traveled throughout Europe. They lived for a time in Spain and in America, then moved back to her mother's French homeland. There, they lived in an apartment rented from an American friend who had gone away for the summer.

Anaïs, then in her teens, stumbled across the man's collection of French erotic paperbacks and read them all. By then, she had already determined to become a writer, and had begun keeping the diaries for which she would become most famous.

At sixteen, she completed her primary education and became an artist's model. She had begun learning English while her family was living in America; soon she became fluent in English, though French would remain her native language.

In March of 1923, at the age of twenty, Anaïs married her boyfriend, Hugh Parker Guiler, a banker who years later would reinvent himself as an experimental filmmaker named Ian Hugo. The couple settled in Paris and would maintain an open marriage.

While her husband was preoccupied with his banking career, Anaïs took up writing and flamenco dancing. Her first book, published in 1932, was an acclaimed work of non-fiction titled D.H. Lawrence: An Unprofessional Study. She wrote it in just over two weeks.

At the time of its publication, literary critics had begun turning their backs on Lawrence, the legendary English writer best known for his classic and controversial novel, Lady Chatterley's Lover. Anaïs' masterful, scholarly study of Lawrence's works was an eyebrow raiser - no woman had dared praise his controversial writings before.

At the time she wrote her book, Anaïs Nin was living the bohemian life in Paris. She met the legendary American writer Henry Miller, then a down-and-out expatriate trying to start his own career as a novelist. She let him read her diaries, and they were a revelation to him.

Her writing had the poetry and passion that his lacked. With Anaïs serving as his muse, Miller wrote his classic debut novel, Tropic of Cancer (1934), which made his name as a writer. Meanwhile, Anaïs worked on her own fiction.

While they tried to keep their writing careers going, Anaïs and Henry struggled to make ends meet, as France had also fallen victim to the Great Depression. They and their writer friends soon discovered they could make $1 per page writing pornographic literature for an anonymous private collector.

At first, they did it more for their own amusement than for the money, but soon it became an important source of income during the hard times of the Depression. $1 per page back then is equivalent to $15 per page in today's money.

Believe it or not, for Henry Miller, writing decent erotica in those days was a struggle. Anaïs Nin, however, was brilliant at it. Her erotica, told from a woman's perspective, was dazzling, poetic, sensual, and even philosophical at times, while also surprisingly graphic.

She explored all the known sexual taboos, including male and female homosexuality, sadomasochism, and incest. Though she retained her original manuscripts for these stories, she never intended to have them published.

Anaïs Nin and Henry Miller became close friends and ultimately lovers. When Miller's wife June arrived in Paris, the relationship would become something of a ménage à trois. Anaïs came to love June and found herself attracted to the woman, she preferred sex with men.

In 1936, Anaïs published her first novella, House Of Incest, which would prove to be one of her most famous works of fiction. The Nin family had feared that it was going to be an expose of a recent incestuous affair between Anaïs and her father.

Instead, it was a novella filled with surrealist prose poetry, metaphors, and psychological symbolism, based on a series of dreams she had. Anaïs would later chronicle the actual incestuous affair in her famous diaries.

Shockingly, one of her therapists had encouraged her to seduce, then abandon her father as an act of revenge for his abandonment of her when she was a young girl. The therapist believed that this would leave Anaïs feeling empowered. It didn't.

In the summer of 1939, with the winds of war brewing, Anaïs and her husband left Paris and moved to New York City. She would remain in America for pretty much the rest of her life. In 1947, she met Rupert Pole, an ex-actor sixteen years her junior, in an elevator while on her way to a party. They began dating, then ran off together.

The couple married in Arizona before moving to California. While Anaïs would live with Rupert until her death in 1977, she annulled their marriage in 1966 for tax reasons - and because she had never formally divorced her first husband.

Anaïs continued to write fiction and maintain her diaries. In 1958, she began publishing Cities of the Interior, her classic "continuous novel" which appeared in a series of five volumes. The most famous volumes were the third, The Four-Chambered Heart, and the fourth, A Spy in the House of Love.

While living in California, Anaïs struck up friendships with experimental filmmakers and appeared in a few films. Her most famous film role was of the goddess Astarte in Kenneth Anger's classic film, Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome (1956). She also appeared in Maya Deren's classic experimental film, Ritual in Transfigured Time (1946).

Over the years, Anaïs' famous diaries would be published in a series of eleven volumes. They would also appear as collections of excerpts, the most famous of which was Henry and June: From a Journal of Love (1986).

Henry and June: From a Journal of Love contained excerpts from Anaïs' diaries chronicling her relationship with Henry Miller and his wife, June. This memorable volume would be adapted by director Philip Kaufman as the highly acclaimed and controversial 1990 feature film Henry & June.

Starring Fred Ward as Henry Miller, Uma Thurman as June, and, in a bravura performance, Maria de Medeiros as Anaïs Nin, it was the first movie to be rated NC-17, which had replaced the X rating.

Bowing to pressure groups, most theaters banned NC-17 rated pictures as they had X-rated films, and Henry & June played on only a few hundred screens nationwide. It earned most of its profits in videotape sales and rentals, which were unaffected by the NC-17 rating.

Still, film critics, most famously the legendary film critics Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert, decried the film's rating as undeserved and protested the NC-17 rating in general as unnecessary and continuing the X rating's tradition of imposing censorship on filmmakers.

(Since most theaters, especially shopping mall multiplexes, refused to play X or NC-17 rated movies, filmmakers were forced to cut their pictures to obtain a lower rating in order to get a wider distribution and hopefully make a profit.)

By 1976, Anaïs was losing her battle with cancer when a publisher approached her about releasing a volume of her famous erotic short stories, which everyone knew about but nobody had seen - except for the anonymous patron who had paid her to write them.

She still didn't want to publish them, but her ex-husbands Hugh Parker Guiler and Rupert Pole, both of whom she still loved, had fallen into poverty. She figured that the money could be used to help them out. She died in January of 1977 at the age of 73. Six months later, Delta of Venus was published.

As the publisher had expected, the short story collection became a huge hit, though Anaïs Nin had considered the stories an embarrassment because they were more caricature than serious writing and had been penned for a private patron's money rather than written for publication.

Nevertheless, they provided a memorable exhibition of Nin's talent for erotic literature. They also added to her legacy as a feminist icon. With the success of Delta of Venus, a second erotic short story collection, Little Birds, was published in 1979.

Quote Of The Day

"If you do not breathe through writing, if you do not cry out in writing, or sing in writing, then don't write, because our culture has no use for it." - Anaïs Nin

Vanguard Video

Today's video features Anaïs Nin reading from her famous diaries. Enjoy!

Monday, February 20, 2017

IWW Members' Publishing Successes

Gary Presley

I once wrote an essay that appeared in the NYTIMES's "Modern Love," which was later chosen to be read by the actor Colin Farrell on Boston's NPR station, WBUR. Today I've learned it's one of three Modern Love essays to be distributed to public radio stations across the nation in honor of St. Valentine's Day.

Pardon my pride and accept my recognition that yahooing three times about one essay seems a bit, ah, too much, but if you haven't heard it and want to hear it, it can be found here.

Jeannette de Beauvoir

I’m psyched to share the release of my coming-of-age novel, Our Lady of the Dunes, published by Homeport Press. We’re having a launch party this Saturday in Provincetown, Massachusetts, if anyone could care to come.

I began this novel on a writing residency that I recommend to everyone on the list. I spent two weeks in a dune shack, no electricity, no running water, just me and the sea and the manual typewriter.

It was an amazing experience and I hope that it’s an amazing book that came out of it.

Bill Brier

Black Opal Books will publish my three mystery novels this year. The stories took eight years to complete, and I couldn’t have written them without the help and support of many of you in Novels-L.

Write me and I’ll send you an attached Advanced Reader Copy of The Devil Orders Takeout for free.

Mark Kilfoil

Incremental Love, under my pen name PB Cruz is available as an eBook from Amazon. A while back I subbed it on Romance Writing as Incremental.

Thanks to all who sent me crits, they helped a great deal to improve the story.

Mel Jacob

I've reviewed books every month for both SFRevu and Gumshoe Review, but keep forgetting to post.

For February at SFRevu:

Miranda and Caliban by Jacqueline Carey:

Noted author Jacqueline Carey offers a lyrical retelling of Shakespeare's The Tempest that humanizes Caliban, but doesn't change his sad fate.

Penric and the Shaman by Lois McMaster Bujold:

A ghostly tale in which Penric of Martensbridge, a sorcerer with the rank of a learned divine, and his demon Desdemona aid in the capture and recovery of a fugitive shaman.

The Weaver by Emmi Itäranta:

A bleak dystopian tragedy. Some readers will find the story dark, obscure, and slow-moving as the author's lyrical prose meanders through a tale as complex as any web woven by the weavers on an island threaten by the encroaching sea where dreamers are imprisoned or killed.

The Wishing World by Todd Fahnestock:

A story for middle school readers. Who has not dreamed of a world where dreams come true and good overcomes evil? The heroine wants her missing family returned.

At Gumshoe Review:

The Ghosts of Misty Hollow (Ghost of Granny Apples) by Sue Ann Jaffarian:

Ghosts abound in Misty Hollow, but they appear hesitant and shy, yet haunt Emma Whitehouse. Something happened in the past that will not let the ghosts rest so they rely on psychic Emma and the ghost of her great-great-great-great-great-grandmother Granny Apples.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Notes For February 17th, 2017

This Day In Literary History

On February 17th, 1864, the legendary Australian writer Banjo Paterson was born. He was born Andrew Barton Paterson in New South Wales, Australia. When Banjo was five, his family lost their wool crop. After his uncle died, the family took over his farm in Illalong.

The farm was close to the main route between Melbourne and Sydney; Banjo grew up around horses and horsemen of all sorts, including coachmen, drovers, and polo players. Thus began his love for horses and the inspiration for his future writings.

He was tutored by a governess until he was old enough to ride a pony and could ride to the bush school for his education. Banjo was a good student and athlete but failed to win a scholarship to the University of Sydney.

So, he took a job as a law clerk, which he would use as a stepping stone toward becoming a solicitor. While working as a solicitor, Banjo took up writing and began his literary career as a poet. He described himself as a "bush poet."

His first published poem, which appeared in the Australian nationalist literary magazine The Bulletin, blasted the British government's war in the Sudan. He struck up friendships with other great Australian writers such as E.J. Brady, Breaker Morant, and Henry Lawson.

In 1895, Banjo Paterson's classic first poetry collection, The Man From Snowy River and Other Verses was published. The title poem, written when Australia was at the cusp of gaining independence from England, would come to symbolize the national identity of Australia and her people.

The title character of this classic ballad is an Australian horseman who embarks on a heroic quest to capture a racehorse who escaped from its paddock and is now living with wild horses in the mountains. The poem and its author were commemorated on the Australian $10 note.

The Man From Snowy River would be adapted as a classic Australian feature film in 1982, directed by George Miller and starring Kirk Douglas, Tom Burlinson, and Terence Donovan.

Another of Paterson's classic bush ballads would be set to music and become the most popular Australian song of all time, affectionately referred to as "the unofficial national anthem of Australia."

Waltzing Matilda told the story of a swagman (Australian itinerant laborer) camping in the bush who catches a jumbuck (sheep) to eat. The sheep's owner arrives with three policemen to arrest the swagman, who commits suicide. His ghost then haunts the site.

Paterson sold the rights to the song, and the lyrics would be modified somewhat over the years. This is the original version:

Oh there once was a swagman camped in the billabong
Under the shade of a Coolabah tree
And he sang as he looked at the old billy boiling,
Who'll come a waltzing Matilda with me?

Who'll come a waltzing Matilda my darling
Who'll come a waltzing Matilda with me
Waltzing Matilda leading a tucker bag
Who'll come a waltzing Matilda with me?

Down came a jumbuck to drink at the water hole
Up jumped the swagman and grabbed him in glee
And he said as he put him away in the tucker bag
You'll come a waltzing Matilda with me.

You'll come a waltzing Matilda my darling
You'll come a waltzing Matilda with me
Waltzing Matilda leading a tucker bag
You'll come a waltzing Matilda with me.

Down came the squatter a riding on his thoroughbred
Down came policemen one, two and three
Where is the jumbuck you've got in the tucker bag?
You'll come a waltzing Matilda with me.

You'll come a waltzing Matilda my darling
You'll come a waltzing Matilda with me
Waltzing Matilda leading a tucker bag
You'll come a waltzing Matilda with me.

But the swagman he ups and he jumps in the water hole
Drowning himself by the Coolabah tree
And his ghost can be heard as it sings in the billabong
Who'll come a waltzing Matilda with me?

During the Second Boer War, Banjo Paterson became a war correspondent for the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age. He also served as a war correspondent during the Boxer Rebellion in China, where he met Australian writer and adventurer George "Chinese" Morrison.

Back home in Australia, Paterson married his girlfriend Alice Emily Walker, who bore him two children, Grace and Hugh. Continuing his journalism career, he became editor of the Sydney Evening News (1904–06) and of the Town and Country Journal (1907–08).

During the first world war, unable to get a job as a war correspondent in Flanders, he became an ambulance driver for the Australian Voluntary Hospital in Wimereux, France.

Paterson went home, but later returned to the French front as a commissioned officer with 2nd Remount Unit, Australian Imperial Force. He was wounded, went temporarily missing in action, and served again in Cairo. He would be discharged with the rank of major.

He kept writing. Though primarily known as a poet, he also published essays, short story collections, two novels, An Outback Marriage (1906) and The Shearer's Colt (1936), and a children's book called The Animals Noah Forgot (1933).

Banjo Paterson's classic bush ballads were originally published without sheet music. They would be set to sheet music by many different performers over the years, establishing him as one of the all time great folk song writers.

He died of a heart attack in 1941, at the age of 76.

Quote Of The Day

"I have followed the wandering teamster's track, and it always led to a pub." - Banjo Paterson

Vanguard Video

Today's video is a "virtual movie" of Banjo Paterson reading his classic poem, The Man From Snowy River, the soundtrack taken from a rare recording of the author. Enjoy!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Notes For February 16th, 2017

This Day In Literary History

On February 16th, 1944, the famous American writer Richard Ford was born in Jackson, Mississippi. His father, Parker Ford, was a traveling salesman for a starch company. When Richard was eight years old, his father had a serious heart attack.

While Parker recovered and afterward, Richard spent a lot of time with his grandfather, an ex-boxer turned hotel owner, in Little Rock, Arkansas. He would lose his father to a second heart attack when he was sixteen.

As a boy, Richard Ford suffered from partial dyslexia. To cope with his learning disability, he learned to read slowly, but thoroughly. This led him to develop a passion for literature.

After graduating from high school, he enrolled at the University of Michigan to study hotel management. He soon switched his major to English. At university, he met Kristina Hensley, whom he would marry in 1968.

After graduating from university, Richard became a middle school teacher in Flint, Michigan. He enlisted in the Marines, but was discharged after contracting hepatitis.

Ford then enrolled in law school, but dropped out to enroll in the creative writing program at the University of California, Irvine, where he earned a Master's degree in Fine Arts.

In 1976, Richard Ford's first novel, A Piece of My Heart, was published. His second novel, The Ultimate Good Luck, was published five years later.

Neither novel was successful, so he gave up writing and became a journalist. He took a job as sportswriter for Inside Sports magazine. A year later, the magazine folded. When Sports Illustrated wouldn't hire him, Richard Ford returned to writing. He based his next novel on his experiences as a sportswriter.

The Sportswriter (1986) proved to be a breakthrough novel that made Richard Ford's name as a writer. In it, Frank Bascombe, a 38-year-old failed novelist turned sportswriter, suffers an emotional crisis when first his son dies, then his marriage crumbles after his wife (whom he refers to only as X) finds proof of his infidelity.

The novel made Ford a finalist for the PEN / Faulkner Award for fiction. It was named one of the five best books of 1986 by Time magazine.

Nine years later, Richard Ford published Independence Day, a sequel to The Sportswriter. It won both the 1996 PEN / Faulkner Award and the Pulitzer Prize, becoming the first novel to win both awards in the same year.

Independence Day finds Frank Bascombe, now a real estate agent, evaluating his life over a long July 4th weekend as he visits his ex-wife and troubled teenage son, as well as some clients and renters of one of his properties. Frank wrestles with the question of whether he should rekindle his relationship with his ex, or stay with his current girlfriend.

In 2006, Ford published the third novel in his Frank Bascombe trilogy. The Lay of the Land finds Frank preparing for Thanksgiving dinner at his home in Sea Clift, New Jersey. Attending the dinner will be his bisexual daughter Clarissa, his son Paul, now a greeting card designer, and Paul's girlfriend.

Frank's second wife, Sally, has left him and reunited with her ex-husband, who went AWOL and was presumed dead. Meanwhile, Frank has started his own real estate company and is fighting a tough battle with prostate cancer.

From 2008 to 2011, Richard Ford served as Adjunct Professor at the Oscar Wilde Centre with the School of English at Trinity College, Dublin, where he taught the Masters Programme in creative writing.

In the fall of 2011, he returned to the United States, where he became the new senior fiction professor at the University of Mississippi. His most recent book, Let Me Be Frank With You, a collection of four novellas featuring Frank Bascombe, was published in 2014.

Quote Of The Day

"Writing is the only thing I've ever done with persistence, except for being married." - Richard Ford

Vanguard Video

Today's video features Richard Ford discussing his most recent book, Let Me Be Frank With You, live at the Politics and Prose bookstore and coffeehouse. Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Notes For February 15th, 2017

This Day In Literary History

On February 15th, 1986, the original, typewritten manuscript of Tropic of Cancer, the classic debut novel of the legendary American writer Henry Miller, was sold at auction for $165,000 - then a record price for a 20th century manuscript and the equivalent of about $361,000 in today's money.

At the time Henry Miller wrote Tropic of Cancer - the novel was first published in 1934 - he had been living in Paris, having tired of his American homeland. He had first visited Paris in 1928, along with his wife, June. By 1931, he had emigrated and found work as a proofreader for the Paris edition of the Chicago Tribune newspaper.

Miller's first novel, Clipped Wings was never published. His second, Moloch: or, This Gentile World would be published posthumously, though he had abandoned it, calling it "utterly false." He was searching for a new literary direction.

His third attempt at writing a novel, Crazy Cock, though different from the first two, was going nowhere. Written in a conventional format, albeit with some graphic sexual content, Miller knew it would never sell. (It too would be published posthumously.)

Miller knew his writing was missing something, but what? Taking advantage of the highly charged creative atmosphere of Paris, he joined in the writing community and struck up friendships with fellow authors.

When he met legendary French writer Anaïs Nin, she immediately recognized his talent. She became his close friend and lover, and let him read her now famous diaries. Her prose was a revelation to him. He needed that kind of passion and poetry in his writing.

Excited, Miller abandoned Crazy Cock and set about writing a new novel. The muse seized him by the throat and wouldn't let go; as his fingers flew about the keys of his typewriter, he chain-smoked and listened to the jazz or Beethoven that blared from his Victrola.

He would write as many as 20, 30, or even 45 pages a day. When he completed the manuscript, he and Anaïs Nin both knew he had written something special - a novel that would revolutionize literature as the world knew it and probably land its author in jail for obscenity.

Miller was determined to get his new novel, Tropic of Cancer, published. One editor said of him, "Miller is so alive nothing else can exist. It is like being close to the sun."

The novel was brilliant, but the graphic sexual content, which Miller refused to censor, made it unpublishable. Finally, in 1934, Obelisk Press, an English language publishing house in Paris, published Tropic of Cancer unexpurgated.

Miller's fellow Americans would have to wait over 30 years for the novel to be legally published in the United States - it was banned as obscene until the Supreme Court overturned the ruling in 1964, in the case of Grove Press, Inc. v. Gerstein.

Grove would also win the legal right to publish the original, uncensored versions of D.H. Lawrence's Lady Chatterley's Lover, William Burroughs' classic novel, Naked Lunch, and Howl and Other Poems, the classic poetry collection by Allen Ginsberg.

Tropic of Cancer was a novel in the form of a memoir. Combining fiction with autobiography, the novel featured a narrative that alternated between conventional and experimental, combining sober accounts with dazzling stream of consciousness reflections.

Funny, sad, joyous, and mad, passionate and poetic, the novel is rightfully recognized as a masterpiece. In the opening pages, Miller described the book this way:

It is now the fall of my second year in Paris. I was sent here for a reason I have not yet been able to fathom. I have no money, no resources, no hopes. I am the happiest man alive. A year ago, six months ago, I thought that I was an artist. I no longer think about it, I am. Everything that was literature has fallen from me. There are no more books to be written, thank God.

This then? This is not a book. This is libel, slander, defamation of character. This is not a book, in the ordinary sense of the word. No, this is a prolonged insult, a gob of spit in the face of Art, a kick in the pants of God, Man, Destiny, Time, Beauty... what you will. I am going to sing for you, a little off key perhaps, but I will sing. I will sing while you croak, I will dance over your dirty corpse...

One of Miller's dirty corpses was that of his homeland, America. Predicting the uproar over the novel's graphic sexual content, he said:

America will call me the lowest of the low when they see my Cancer. What a laugh I'll have when they begin to spit and fume. I hope they'll learn something about death and futility, about hope, etc. I won't give them a fucking leg to stand on...

Henry Miller was no pornographer; he didn't write about sex to arouse his readers, he simply and honestly celebrated his sexual life. In his classic novella-length essay, The World of Sex (1940), he explained that the sex in his writings was the product of the libertine philosophy that he believed in and based his life on.

He criticized the American "values" that condemned sex as sinful. Instead of openly and honestly accepting and embracing something as wholesome and beautiful as sex, Americans would rather decry it as obscene, leaving the only outlet for sexual expression to smut peddlers.

Miller followed Tropic of Cancer with many more classic novels, including Black Spring (1936), Tropic of Capricorn (1939), and his famous Rosy Crucifixion trilogy - Sexus (1949), Plexus (1953), and Nexus (1960). He died in 1980 at the age of 88.

Quote Of The Day

“The aim of life is to live, and to live means to be aware, joyously, drunkenly, serenely, divinely aware.” - Henry Miller

Vanguard Video

Today's video features a reading from Henry Miller's classic novel, Tropic of Cancer. Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Notes For February 14th, 2017

This Day In Literary History

On February 14th, 1895, The Importance of Being Earnest, the classic play the by legendary Irish writer Oscar Wilde, opened in London. Wilde had written the first draft of the play in just three weeks. It was the fastest play he ever wrote.

The Importance of Being Earnest was also Wilde's most famous play. In this satire of the foibles and hypocrisy of the British upper class, young aristocrat Jack Worthing invents a fictional younger brother named Earnest.

Jack uses his fictitious sibling as a way of getting out of trouble. Sometimes he pretends to be Earnest when it suits his duplicitous purposes. When Jack's friend and fellow aristocrat Algernon Moncrieff learns about Earnest, he also assumes Earnest's identity for his own purposes.

Jack and Algernon's plans backfire when two women fall in love with them, but each girl thinks she's in love with a man called Earnest. In a surprise twist, it turns out that Algernon, who has been impersonating Jack's fictitious sibling, is actually his long lost brother.

The Importance of Being Earnest earned rave reviews and became a hit. It's considered Oscar Wilde's best play. It would also be his last. It closed after 83 performances because of a scandal that had ensnared the playwright.

Wilde was a bisexual who, although married to a woman and the father of her children, preferred men. During his time - the Victorian era in England - homosexuality was considered both a disgrace and a crime under British law punishable by imprisonment.

The Marquess of Queensberry, father of Wilde's male lover Lord Alfred "Bosie" Douglas, publicly accused Wilde of being a "posing sodomite," so Wilde made a complaint of criminal libel against him. The Marquess was arrested and released on bail.

A team of detectives led his lawyers to London's gay underground and details of Wilde's associations with male prostitutes, transvestites, and gay brothels were soon uncovered and leaked to the press, which assailed him nonstop.

Queensberry's lawyers claimed that the alleged libel was done for the public good. He was acquitted and Wilde found himself arrested for "gross indecency" - a term for homosexual acts that were illegal under British law.

The jury in Wilde's first trial failed to reach a verdict. At his final trial, presided by Justice Sir Alfred Wills, Wilde was convicted of gross indecency and sentenced to the maximum of two years imprisonment - a sentence that the judge believed was too lenient for the crime of homosexuality.

Wilde served his sentence at three different prisons. By the time of his release, prison life had left him in poor health. He spent his last years abroad in self-imposed exile, living under the alias Sebastian Melmoth.

The name was based on St. Sebastian (a Christian martyr believed to have been gay) and the main character of Melmoth The Wanderer, a Gothic novel written by Wilde's great uncle, Charles Robert Maturin.

Wilde was broke, so his wife, who refused to meet with him or let him see his children, sent him money when she could. He took up with his first lover, Robert Ross, and they spent the summer of 1897 together in Northern France, where Wilde wrote his classic poem, The Battle Of Reading Gaol.

Despite the objections of their families and friends, Wilde later reunited with Bosie Douglas, and they lived together in Italy in late 1897. They soon broke up, this time for good.

Wilde settled at the Hotel d'Alsace in Paris, where, it has been said, he lived the uninhibited gay lifestyle that had been denied him in England. He died of cerebral meningitis on November 30th, 1900, at the age of 46.

Some have speculated that the meningitis was a complication of syphilis, but Wilde's grandson, Merlin Holland, said that it was a complication of a surgical procedure, most likely a mastoidectomy. Wilde's own doctors blamed the meningitis on an old suppuration of the right ear.

Quote Of The Day

"By giving us the opinions of the uneducated, journalism keeps us in touch with the ignorance of the community." - Oscar Wilde

Vanguard Video

Today's video features a complete live performance of Oscar Wilde's classic play The Importance of Being Earnest. Enjoy!

Monday, February 13, 2017

IWW Members' Publishing Successes

Mark Kline

The Lost Woman, a crime novel by Sara Blaedel that I translated, has been published by Grand Central Publishing. It's been reviewed in many places, including the New York Times.

 She has a good agent!

Eric Petersen

My review of The Angels' Share, a novel by James Markert, has been published by the Internet Review of Books.

Wayne Scheer

My flash humor piece, "Telephoning God," is up at Funny in Five Hundred.

My story, "Wedge Sandal," is up at Everyday Fiction. The story began in Practice and was reviewed in Fiction, so I need to share my $3 bonanza with a lot of people.

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