I love Oscar Wilde’s writings and came across De profundis in my Kindle collection, which Yeats called the longest love letter ever written. I really didn’t think it could be that interesting compared to his fictional writing, but as I learned the background of the letter, it started to become more intriguing. He wrote this in prison, to hix ex gay lover, also his student. The ex lover was selfish and immature (according to Wilde) and was a catalyst in Wilde going bankrupt and a direct cause of him being sent to prison for 2 years!
In this letter, Wilde’s character is revealed and there are some very interesting little gems buried in his long account of his love affair and ultimate demise.
My favorite quote is:
The gods are strange. It is not of our vices only they make instruments to scourge us. They bring us to ruin through what in us is good, gentle, humane, loving.
This is so true to me. In my life I know that my inclination towards kindness and gentleness to others who are more inclined to hate and resentment has come back to bite me many times, and this is what happened to Wilde through his forgiving attitude and generosity towards his lover.
The other passage I am fond of is his take on Hate and what it can do to those who let it take over:
Hate blinds people. You were not aware of that. Love can read the writing on the remotest star, but Hate so blinded you that you could see no further than the narrow, walled-in, and already lust-withered garden of your common desires. Your terrible lack of imagination, the one really fatal defect of your character, was entirely the result of the Hate that lived in you. Subtly, silently, and in secret, Hate gnawed at your nature, as the lichen bites at the root of some sallow plant, till you grew to see nothing but the most meagre interests and the most petty aims.