The plays may have been more scandalous than the author’s sex life, but visitors still plant sexy kisses on his grave.
Oscar Wilde, the 20th century’s most famous sexual dissident, has been dead 100 years to the day. From his deathbed in a seedy Paris hotel, he has seeped into our collective consciousness and become a contemporary celebrity almost as popular as Lady Di. More than just a gay martyr, Wilde was a subversive Superman willing to hazard everything. His lectures were camp performance art and his plays celebrated decadence, gender swapping and the “cult of the clitoris.” He seems to have been the First Modern Man to emerge from the moralizing slime of the Victorian age.