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The story of the Wilde family across seven generations is an epic saga of sensational triumphs and dreadful tragedies. By linking the generations a more complete picture emerges of Oscar Wilde, the brilliant Irishman whose wit and works still dazzle and whose tragic fall still breaks the reader's heart. Oscar's parents, the extraordinarily accomplished Sir William Wilde and the flamboyant Lady Wilde, themselves led glittering lives full of accomplishment and distinction but catastrophe stalked their paths as it did the lives of their children Isola, Willie and Oscar, and later their grandchildren Cyril, Vyvyan and the tragic Dolly Wilde.
Sir William was an eminent eye and ear surgeon in Dublin and also an author, antiquarian and statistician but his personal life attracted much innuendo. His wife was the fiery nationalist poet 'Speranza' whose thumping verses helped fuel a revolution. Oscar Wilde's veiled roots in Ireland and beyond are explored as are the lives of his parents, his brother Willie, his wife Constance, sons Vyvyan and Cecil, and descendants still alive today.
This fresh narrative, which includes new insights on Oscar's time in prison and recently discovered information on Sir William's cover-up of his illegitimate daughters' deaths in Monaghan, unfolds against a background of a country torn apart by rebellion and famine. The story is often heartbreaking but the cruel fates did not succeed in extinguishing Oscar's brilliance and the 'lord of language' has taken his rightful place among the great writers of the world.