Retail pak Dove/ NewStar Media 1998
CS ISBN 0787114057 $20.00 Four cassettes
DE PROFUNDIS is Oscar Wilde's angry letter to former friend Alfred Douglas, written while Wilde was in prison. Though it's an important apologia outlining Wilde's aesthetics, it doesn't have any of the wit Wilde is known for, and it rambles on for five hours. Fortunately, Stephen Fry (who played the title role in the 1997 film Wilde) gives a razor-sharp performance that exudes the author's bitterness, despair and self-absorption. This isn't a light listen, but it's as good as one is likely to find. THE BALLAD OF READING GAOL, also based on Wilde's prison experience, gives Fry more room to shine, and his understanding of the poem's rhythm brings out all of its dramatic imagery. D.B. © AudioFile 2000, Portland, Maine [Published: APR/MAY 00]
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