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Ceremonies of BraveryOscar Wilde, Carlos Blacker, and the Dreyfus Affair$
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J. Robert Maguire

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199660827

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199660827.001.0001

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‘No One Should Know Such an Infamous Person as Bosie’

‘No One Should Know Such an Infamous Person as Bosie’

(p.139) 9 ‘No One Should Know Such an Infamous Person as Bosie’
Ceremonies of Bravery

J. Robert Maguire

Oxford University Press

For Wilde, the painful breakup of his cherished friendship with Blacker was followed soon after by the end of carefree days at A L’Idée on the banks of the Marne at Nogent. ‘I cannot bear being alone’, he confided to Robbie Ross in his increasing isolation. His ‘dinners and symposia’ with Esterhazy, which, according to an observer, it would require the pen of Voltaire to describe, proved while they lasted a diverting source of fascination for Wilde, with the Commandant’s extravagant outbursts and theatrical tirades. The same day that a military Court of Enquiry recommended that Esterhazy be dismissed from the army, his only remaining protector, Lt.-Col. Henry, was arrested and committed suicide. Fearing the apparent suicide was actually an assassination and that he was in danger of sharing a similar fate, he fled to England where he joined Strong in an effort to find a publisher for his inside story of the Dreyfus affair. Thus began for Esterhazy twenty-five years of living incognito in a foreign land, a hidden life that remained substantially unchanged from his early description of it: ‘I live in a moral solitude that is something atrocious…alone, alone, a thousand times more alone than in a desert solitude.’

Keywords:   A L’Idée, Ross, Lieutenant-Colonel Henry, Strong

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