Written in 1897 and published in 1905, De Profundis
is of course the tragic letter that Wilde writes to Lord Alfred Douglas from his jail cell, where he had been committed for the crime of being gay.
In De Profundis
, he sought to establish self by absorbing otherness, but ultimately found this approach unrealizable--others have a tricky way of resisting absorption.
Thomas De Quincey, Suspiria de Profundis
, in The Works of Thomas De Quincey, general ed.
2) De Profundis
(Psalm 129 Vulgate, Psalm 130 (King James Version).
Wilde held tenaciously, however, to the truth that had been revealed to him concerning mimetic desire as a governing force in the world of human relations --a truth to which he had borne a multi-voiced witness in "The Decay of Lying," The Picture of Dorian Gray, and De Profundis
He was not buffed in the traditional Jewish manner although, later on the centenary of his birth, these ashes were re-interred in Vienna in a plot not far from those of the great traditional musical masters Mozart, Beethoven, and Schubert--where De Profundis
was sung by a choir in Hebrew.
However, not everyone can get far enough down the vocal scale to hit a low E - a note six semitones below the deepest one ever written for a choir - which Mealor has incorporated in a new Russian Orthodox-style piece he's created called De Profundis
We know that he quarreled painfully with Douglas about "schoolboy faults," writing in De profundis
that the translation was not only unworthy of Douglas's Oxonian education but of the beautiful play Wilde had written.
Actor Angad Thakur as the iconoclast writer is seen reading out from The Picture of Dorian Gray and De Profundis
Thus, what makes of De Profundis
an extraordinary prose poem (one of the foundational prose poems of modernity) with mystic tones is not to be sought primarily in its more spiritually solemn and lofty passages (and there are several effective ones) abstracted from the context, but in the non-puristic (indeed, impure) mixture or contamination of spiritual reflections with rather petty, all-too-human complaints, including all the details of a love affair such that only a great writer, a writer with a poetic vocation, can express.
I skim the books at random -- they're called De Profundis
, Volume 1, 2 and so forth -- and I'm taken aback by the tone: the columns are rants, eloquent and funny but seething with satirical rage.
There were hundreds of loaves of bread in his house, De profundis