Oscar Wilde pp 111-114 | Cite as

My Quarrel with Oscar Wilde

  • James Rennell Rodd


In those early Bohemian days I saw a great deal of that brilliant but unhappy man, and as a year or so later we quarrelled irretrievably and met no more, I feel the greater obligation to do justice to certain aspects of the man as I knew him. And here also I would record a debt, inasmuch as he helped me to independence of thought and opinion. Normal education and surroundings had exercised a certain restraint on an imagination which resented such control, and association with this daring and gifted personality brought me nearer to emancipation from convention. He had undoubtedly a keen perception of beauty, almost overshadowed by his tremendous sense of humour, which led him into extravagances of paradox. His laughter was genuine, spontaneous and infectious. He had a vivid quickness of apprehension, and an absorbent memory. But at the period of our acquaintance he had accomplished little to entitle him to other recognition than that which his ready wit and deliberate eccentricity commanded. His literary and dramatic gifts were developed later and have been fully recognized since his tragic end.


Normal Education Bibliographical Note American Artist Dominant Personality English Poet 
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  1. 1.
    Scènes de la Vie de Bohème, by the French novelist Henri Murger (1822–61). The novel was later dramatised and provided the libretto for Puccini’s opera, La Bohème.Google Scholar
  2. 5.
    James A. McNeill Whistler (1834–1903), the American artist, settled in England in 1862. Wilde both liked and admired Whistler at first, but later quarrelled with him. See Wilde v. Whistler; Being the Acrimonious Correspondence on Art Between Oscar Wilde and James A. Mc.Neill Whistler (London: privately printed, 1906 )Google Scholar
  3. James A. McNeill Whistler, The Gentle Art of Making Enemies ( London: Heinemann, 1904 )Google Scholar
  4. Gerda Eichbaum, ‘Die Persönlichen und Literarischen Beziehungen Zwischen Oscar Wilde und James MacNeill Whistler,’ Englische Studien, LXV (1931), 217–52Google Scholar
  5. Horace Gregory, The World of James McNeill Whistler (London: Hutchinson, 1961) passimGoogle Scholar
  6. James Laver, Whistler ( London: Faber & Faber, 1930 ) pp. 206–9Google Scholar
  7. and Elizabeth Robins Pennell and J. Pennell, The Life of James McNeill Whistler ( London: Heinemann, 1911 ) pp. 224–8.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • James Rennell Rodd

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