The fascinating story of the decadent and thrilling world of Oscar Wilde's wife Constance, and the world of scandal which would betray her.
In the spring of 1895 the life of Constance Wilde changed irrevocably. Up until the conviction of her husband, Oscar, for homosexual crimes, she had held a privileged position in society. Part of a gilded couple, she was a popular children's author, a fashion icon, and a leading campaigner for women's rights. A founding member of the magical society the Golden Dawn, her pioneering and questioning spirit encouraged her to sample some of the more controversial aspects of her time. Mrs Oscar Wilde was a phenomenon in her own right.
But that spring Constance's entire life was eclipsed by scandal. Forced to flee to the Continent with her two sons, her glittering literary and political career ended abruptly. Having changed her name, she lived in exile until her death.
Franny Moyle now tells Constance's story with a fresh eye and remarkable new material. Drawing on numerous unpublished letters, she brings to life the story of a woman at the heart of fin-de-siecle London and the Aesthetic movement. In a compelling and moving tale of an unlikely couple caught up in a world unsure of its moral footing, she uncovers key revelations about a woman who was the victim of one of the greatest betrayals of all time.
Praise for Desperate Romantics Franny Moyle's book on the Pre-Raphaelites:
'An utterly gripping read' - Sunday Express
Riveting - Independent on Sunday
Moyle's book captures all the sex, madness and addiction, making modern-day sagas seem downright dull! - Glamour
Constance Wilde is the subject of one of this year's most heartbreaking biographies...Moyle vindicates a remarkble and courageous woman whose loyalty to her husband was unfailing. While focusing on Constance, the book sheds new light on Wilde as a fond, endearing and surprisingly domesticated family man - Sunday Times, Books of the Year
Franny Moyle has a degree in English and History of Art from St John's College, Cambridge. She enjoyed a career in arts programming at the BBC that culminated in her becoming the corporation's first Commissioner for Arts and Culture. She is now a freelance executive producer and writer as well as a director of the Hackney Empire, which is near her home in East London. She is married and has three children.