Bernard Shaw, Frank Harris & Oscar Wilde

By Robert Harborough Sherard | Go to book overview

X
HARRIS'S "MANY INVENTIONS"

AN eminent French critic wrote of Harris's book that while Vol. II is one long denunciation of Oscar Wilde— Davray by his extracts from the French reviews of the book has shown how effectual this was—the first volume is an exposure of English society. "This first volume," writes M. Maurice Beaubourg, "is the finer of the two; it is extraordinarily vital and forcible, it is the indictment and conviction, without any possible appeal, of the English médiocratie."

By this last word, which he coins himself, Beaubourg wishes to describe the British upper middle classes.He distinguishes them from the aristocracy, because Harris has led him to believe the best path to the greatest success in London society is to have ... well, the reputation for abnormality which he describes Wilde's name to have been associated with.Falsely, of course, as far as the years he lived in London until the early nineties are concerned.Nobody better than Harris ought to know that Wilde had no such bad reputation in London, because nobody better than Harris knew that any suspicion of anything wrong in this respect about a contributor would bolt and bar against him the office of every newspaper or review office in London.He knew that Wilde contributed regularly during the years in question to the Pall Mall Gazette, during most of which time it belonged to H. Y. Thompson.Now Henry Yates Thompson— experto crede Roberto, for I was for years closely connected with the P.M.G.—was a man of the strictest principles and if any breath of scandal touched anybody who was a contributor, his "I won't have that man writ

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