The Secret Life of Oscar Wilde

There is no shortage of Oscar Wilde biographies out there. And, at this point, it would seem difficult to suggest that there are any "secrets" left to tell about the always-controversial Irish-born writer of plays, poetry, novels and more. But Neil McKenna seems to have broken new ground in his acclaimed new book "The Secret Life of Oscar Wilde." Perhaps it is not surprising that the bulk of new material in this bio focuses on Wilde's sexual journey through Victorian-era London. For some readers, McKenna's focus (one might even call it an obsession) on Wilde's sexuality may be a bit excessive. McKenna more or less argues that Wilde's attraction to men is at the center of pretty much all of his work. Meanwhile, you might argue that there could be more in this book about Wilde and his Irish background. Still, McKenna does analyze a large amount of previously unknown and unpublished material about Wilde's life and times. No less important a publication than Publisher's Weekly gave The Secret Life of Oscar Wilde a coveted starred review, writing: "Not even a great biography can explain everything about its subject's life - and certainly, despite the groundbreaking research here, this book will raise eyebrows as well as controversy. But it's also the most exciting and important Wilde scholarship to be published in decades." ( $23.95 / 539 pages / Basic Books)