*The Coward Does it With a Kiss

The Feminist Bookshop


"It has often been said to me (how often!) that I could not be blamed for having misunderstood you, that your actions were, and still are, beyond the comprehension of decent people. But I do understand you, Oscar; I understand you perfectly well. It is myself, myself I do not understand." Following Oscar Wilde's imprisonment for gross indecency in 1895, his wife Constance seeks refuge on the Continent with their two young sons. She and her husband are never to meet again. Reading through the diaries in which she recorded her thoughts, feelings and reactions throughout their marriage, she writes an extended letter to Oscar in which she tries to make sense of their shared past, examines the truths and deceptions of their relationship, and searches desperately for a handle onto her own identity. Drawing on the recorded facts of the Wildes' time together and their final years of separate self-imposed exile, Rohase Piercy has recreated the story of their relationship from Constance's viewpoint. This is the memoir Constance Wilde might have written, a moving testimony to a love that was inevitably doomed.

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