• LOCATION 4 | The Chairfather: Père Lachaise Part I

    Oscar Wilde

    ”There are only two tragedies in life: one is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it."

    Oscar Wilde said that, and he certainly got a bit of both. He sought gratification in all its forms, considering that pleasure and beauty would eventually replace utilitarian ethics. Intellectual pursuits were for him the only ones worth pursuing, becoming a brilliant student at Trinity College in Dublin, and then at Oxford, he adopted aestheticism, and defended Art for Art's sake.

    As a writer he gave himself free reign to explore ideas which amused him, such as decadence, duplicity, and narcissism. His plays were popularly successful, while often drawing mocking reviews for their themes. Wilde scoffed, and threw more witty lines to the press.

    Which is not to say that he didn't care what people thought of him and his work. He cared too much, and expelled energy fruitlessly in an attempt to change their minds. When accused of homosexual acts, regardless of their veracity, he sued for libel. This backfired dramatically when he lost, bankrupted himself with court costs, and Wilde was sentenced to two years hard labor.

    Upon release, he immediately left for France, never to return to the British isles. Due to the scandal, his plays weren't on stage, and he couldn't get a byline for his writings. Formerly a dandy who spared no expense and said "Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination," Wilde was now severely poor. His only luxury was excessive amounts of cheap alcohol, which hastened the deterioration of his health. Just three years after release from jail, Oscar Wilde died destitute in Saint-Germain-des-Prés.

    The modern sculpture over his final resting place is fitting: it's ostentatious, and depicts a flamboyant male sexuality. The figure's man parts were chiseled off by a detractor some years ago. It became a tradition to kiss the statue, preferably with lipstick, to defy those who thought Wilde loved wrongly.

    Wilde said "Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go." On this note, we must part to join our next host.

    Take the dirt path directly opposite Wilde in between the family Esovars Jalla on the left and the family Jazigo da Silva Santos on the right.

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The Chairfather: Père Lachaise Part I