Oscar Wilde John Gray Dorian Gray LGBT Rights Poetry From the Guardian archive Oscar Wilde John Gray Dorian Gray

A walk on the Wilde side – archive, 1983


Oscar Wilde who was out of the closet and into the confessional before you could say “Dorian Gray” is uncovered – well, partly uncovered – in a new biography of a minor 1890s poet who might have become a major reprobate if he had not instead become a Roman Catholic priest.The tantalising possibility that Wilde’s portrait of jeunesse dorée might have been modelled on his friend John Gray (1866-1934) is dangled, and rather swiftly dismissed, by Fr Brocard Sewell, in his new book, In The Dorian Mode (to be published by Tabb House later this month).Gray was a Bethnal Green boy with a literary bent.

Wilde might have picked him up in a bar, or at the Empire music hall, but Sewell reckons that they more probably met at the Cafe Royal or a literary.

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