Hailed as a gay icon and pioneer of individualism, Oscar Wilde’s insistence that ‘there should be no law for anybody’ made him a staunch defender of gender equality. Throughout his life from his relationship to his extraordinary mother Jane and the tragedy of his sister Isola’s early death to his accomplished wife, Constance, and a coterie of other free-thinking writers, actors and artists, women were a central aspect of his life and career. Wilde’s Women is the first book to tell the story of his female friends and colleagues who traded witticisms with Wilde but also give him access to vital publicity and whose ideas he gave expression through his social comedies.
Author Eleanor Fitzsimons reframes Wilde’s story and his legacy through the women in his life including such fascinating figures as Florence Balcombe who left him for Bram Stoker, actress Lillie Langtry (who for a while was an inseparable friend) and his tragic and witty niece, Dolly, who bore a strong resemblance to the writer and loved fast cars, cocaine and foreign women.
Full of fascinating detail and anecdotes, Wilde’s Women relates the untold story of how the writer played a vitally sympathetic role on behalf of many women and how they supported him in the midst of a Victorian society in the process of changing forever.