The great poet, satirist and playwright, Oscar Wilde, is as misunderstood today as he was in his own time. Vilified by fellow Victorians for his sexuality and his dandyism, be is hailed these days as a progressive sexual liberator. But this is not how Wilde saw himself. His actions and pretences did not bring him happiness and fulfilment: his art did. This is where Joseph Pearce's search for the man behind the masks begins.
Rather than lingering on the mistakes which brought notoriety, this powerful study explores Wilde's lifelong search for emotional and spiritual fulfilment. It uncovers how his "heart of stone" was broken by his two-year prison sentence; it probes the deeper thinking behind masterpieces such as The Ballad of Reading Gaol and De Profundis; and it traces his greatest love affair - with the Church.