Friday, February 10, 2006

Saint Oscar?

Last Sunday, my wife and I went to see A Good Woman, the new film adaptation of Oscar Wilde's Lady Windermere's Fan starring Helen Hunt and Scarlett Johansson. It reminded me once again of how Catholic a writer Wilde is, and the thought occurred to me that, if the Church were more imaginative, it might consider canonizing Wilde. The cynical witticisms are in the end always confounded in Wilde's work and his fairy tale "The Selfish Giant" is more orthodox than The Chronicles of Narnia. Moreover, it is hard not to see Wilde's sad end as a punishment he brought on himself. Sin, of course, is a very private affair, something strictly between oneself and God. Still, one may fall from from grace time and again and continue to have faith in redemption. There is an excellent book on the subject of Wilde and his fellow aesthetes by Ellis Hanson called Decadence and Catholicism. Let us keep alert for a miracle.


  1. Don't you find Oscar Wilde's fairy tales unbearably sad? That one about the nightingale, for example, such a poignant story of self-sacrifice and carelessness. (Very modern, actually, now I come to think of it.)

  2. Yes, I do. And yes they can also be very modern. And they are often about self-sacrifice. Consider "The Happy Prince."