An Essay On Understanding Oscar Wilde, A Metaphor: A Different Perspective On Homosexuality In History by Paulette Mahurin

While spotlights shine on same sex marriages and homophobia internationally and change is occurring at a reasonable pace, it took over a hundred years for the archaic Victorian law used to prosecute author Oscar Wilde to come under reform. The fact that so much time passed before said reform took effect fuels the flames of veracity as to what is accurate about Wilde, his case and homophobia at the time and from history from then till now. Passions obscure the strongest of historical facts when written through biased lenses and data are not readily available from the subjective parties’ perspective. In Wilde’s case there is ample documentation on his own personal perspective, which lends to a retrospective comparison of his view  (his defense while on trial and in his letter to his lover, De Profundis, while serving his prison sentence) and the view of society, including the press.  


First, it’s important to understand the history of homosexuality legality in Britain to understand the intensity of scrutiny and bias that Wilde incurred.

(To read the rest of the article, please visit this link. Hope you’ll take the time and leave a comment for my friend, M.C.V. Egan, author of The Bridge of Deaths).


About The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap

The year 1895 was filled with memorable historical events: the Dreyfus Affair divided France; Booker T. Washington gave his Atlanta address; Richard Olney, United States Secretary of State, expanded the effects of the Monroe Doctrine in settling a boundary dispute between the United Kingdom and Venezuela; and Oscar Wilde was tried and convicted for "gross indecency" under Britian's recently passed law that made sex between males a criminal offense. When the news of Wilde's conviction went out over telegraphs worldwide, it threw a small Nevada town into chaos. This is the story of what happened when the lives of its citizens were impacted by the news of Oscar Wildes' imprisonment. It is chronicle of hatred and prejudice with all its unintended and devastating consequences, and how love and friendship bring strength and healing. Paulette Mahurin, the author, is a Nurse Practitioner who lives in Ojai, California with her husband Terry and their two dogs--- Max and Bella. She practices women's health in a rural clinic and writes in her spare time. All profits from her book are going to animal rescue, Santa Paula Animal Shelter, the first and only no-kill shelter in Ventura County, CA, where she lives. (see links below on Ventura County Star Article & Shelter) To find out more please go the The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap on facebook or Amazon or e-mail us at the gavatar addresses. Thank you. (photos: of Paulette, her family, and a reading at The Ojai Art Center, July 2012)
This entry was posted in BLOGGER'S REVIEWS, INTERVIEWS, EXCERPTS, INTOLERANCE, OSCAR WILDE. Bookmark the permalink.

27 Responses to An Essay On Understanding Oscar Wilde, A Metaphor: A Different Perspective On Homosexuality In History by Paulette Mahurin

  1. Thanks for this well researched piece. I live in Britain and I didn’t know all of this. The latest vote in the House of Lords on the bill has been indeed ground breaking and this is a good opportunity to look back and reflect on history. Thank you Paulette!

  2. tazzielove says:

    Well written comprehensive piece.

  3. Deb says:

    The is a very comprehensive piece, Paulette! 🙂
    Have yourself a great weekend! x

  4. An excellent essay, Paulette. I had no idea about these details before this post. Well done.

  5. tazzielove says:

    Reblogged this on tazziesplace and commented:
    A very comprehensive essay on Oscar Wilde and histories view on homosexuality.

  6. fournier0917 says:

    Your essay is exceptional! On the one hand it makes one cry out against, and about the frightened ignorance of law makers of the time, wanting to bury their own insecurities in the torture and consequent pain in they whom they condemned; and on the other you want to lash out against the lawmakers and their ignorant supporter groups of the last 100 years, and up to this very day, where these archaic laws still exist, in spite of all we have learned of the human mind and nature’s choice-less impositions on each of us at random, as to our sexual traits and leanings.

    Shame on man for tolerating such injustice by his cowardly fellow man to this very day. Bravo Paulette for speaking out so eloquently on behalf of they who have so wrongly been persecuted because of their sexuality. Chapeau dear lady for your continued efforts. Having been a great admirer of Oscar Wilde for so long, your words touched me ever so deeply. Thank you for your presence.

    Jean-Jacques Fournier

    • Thank you very much. My sentiments are as yours. It is a hope that someday the light does shine brighter on the intolerance that exists today. I hope people everywhere learn to have their beliefs without a need to impose them on another and cause pain or hurt. I welcome the day “society” can agree to civilly disagree in conversations embracing differences, without escalations to harmful actions.

  7. Beautifully eloquent article, Paulette. It’s amazing to me that there are still so many homophobic people as well as those who would force their version of morality on the rest of the world. I have faith that things will change.

  8. Alison says:

    Thank you for this beautifully researched and written article. I didn’t know much about him except that he wrote wonderful plays (I was raised in the theatre) and was imprisoned for homosexuality which I always thought horrific. I couldn’t comprehend why anyone would be locked up for being homosexual. It seems so bizarre that people would care so much about it that they punish it.

    • I didn’t know a lot of this either, until I started to do the research for my book. It’s quite an eye opener. Very hard to get into the mindset of someone who would want to punish someone for being homosexual, bizarre is a good word. Thank you.

  9. Historically good information. I will never cause harm to anyone who does not believe what I believe. I don’t support gay rights. From a spiritual standpoint, the inspired word of God tells me of the personal, national and internations curses of Disobedience. Like I say God is my teacher, my inspiration. And until He tells me otherwise, I must follow what HIs word says. Having said that. I don’t hate others. That would be as wrong as same sex behavior marriages etc. I am not against people loving. It has nothing to do with that. And never would I cause personal harm.

    • Thank you for your open and honest communication. Tolerance cuts both ways and so it is in this reference that I appreciate and respect your communication, especially the comment that you would never cause personal harm. I think that’s the main point, that perhaps “we” can all live in harmony and stop hurting/harming each other, agree to civilly disagree.

  10. We need to be a Light no matter what our view. We all share the same planet. Some of my good friends are gay. And they are a delight to me. What we all share however is that we must do the human thing. And that is to be a light and reach out to others and embrace them even if we don’t agree.

  11. Clowie says:

    I found that interesting and have left a comment to say that I found the thoughts on bias in the press particularly interesting.

  12. WordsFallFromMyEyes says:

    Paulette, this post reminds me of a DVD I watched about an EXTRAORDINARY mathematician who was used by the British government during war but never hailed as a hero – apparently he saved the war by decoding something – because he was discovered to be homosexual, which he openly said, candidly said to a policeman. Then his whole life turned about. ALL his achievement was just disregarded, and he never received the accolades he should have. He suicided.

    You probably know who he is, given your interest in the subject. It’s my shame I don’t remember his name.

    I’ve clicked on your friend’s link, but will have to read it later as I’m going out shortly.

    Cheers 🙂

    • Alan Turing: was considered the father of computer science and artificial intelligence was convicted in 1952 under the same law (The Criminal Amendment Act of 1885) that convicted Wilde. Shortly after that he was found dead from cyanide poisoning. His was one of the worst cases of persecution in modern English history. I believe the 1885 act was repealed in a967. Sad sad situation Turing.

      And, my friend cheers back to you. A little happier note. 😉

      • WordsFallFromMyEyes says:

        YES, that was him! I knew you’d know! Thanks for the link too, because I would like to read more of him. The film was magnificent.

        Imagine being Turing’s descendants, and knowing how more (but not entirely) alternatives are accepted these days, and just crying and wishing it could have been okay for him too – your dad/grandad. Just wicked, is that persecution, utterly wicked. I was rocked for days when I learned of a teenage boy in the US, some small town there, tied up at a fence, tortured to death. For WHAT? Because he doesn’t like sex like they do!! It is tragedy, and is still abound.

        I’ve actually tried to tune into my own real gut (as often people support something far from them), & thought to myself, “What if Daniel was gay, then, would you be so OK?” And I’ve thought ‘Yes. Only thing is, he wouldn’t bring me grandchildren’. Truly, should you find love, don’t let anyone tell you you are “not allowed” to have that love.

      • WordsFallFromMyEyes says:

        I just finished reading the Turing article. My gosh, he grew breasts – I rally feel sorry.

        So it might have been accidental, his death? I didn’t get that bit front he film. As for all the accolades from universities, his descendants should feel duly proud.

        Thanks again, Paulette 🙂

      • Turings situation was horrible largely because it was criminalized to be involved in homosexual activity back then which is persecuted torture, not dissimilar to a lot of the things still existing today. So pathetic.

        About the having children thing: even gay couples are having children, some by surrogate, some adoption. So if your lovely boy were ever to surprise you with the news being a grandmother may not be out of the question. As to what you so lovingly wrote, I can’t imagine after reading all you’ve written you’d be anything other than accepting with your beautiful boy. That’s just my take on your heart, the one that hasn’t always been treated fairly. Albeit supposition, very powerful conversation.

        P.S. yes, Turing has been posthumously cleared and recognized for the genius he was and all he contributed to mankind at large, a lot for his descendent to be proud of.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s