WILD ABOUT OSCAR WILDE’S GHOSTLY GIFT
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Arguably the world’s greatest playwright and unarguably the wittiest writer ever, Irish born Oscar Wilde has come to the rescue of his London born grandson. Merlin Holland, 73, whose father was Vivyan Holland.
However, having been born in London the writer himself has only a British passport. As he is a naturalised British citizen there seemed little escape from the possibility of his having to relocate to Absurdistan as BREXIT loomed.
His interest in acquiring Irish citizenship was not just opportunism; it was not the clutching of a straw due to his grandfather’s birthright. Merlin Holland has devoted much of his life to keeping public interest in the great lyricist’s works.
It was the largesse of the Irish government that opened Merlin’s interest in applying for Irish identification. ‘They (the Irish government) had agreed to pay 50,000 euros to clean up Wilde’s tomb in the Pere Lachaise cemetery in Paris and encase it inexpensive protective glass,’ he explains.
The monumental sculpture was being eroded from chemicals in lipstick left by fans kissing the statue. ‘So even though the passport will help me to remain in France and move freely to other countries, it is also a thank-you gesture to the Irish.’
In return for it being repaired through the generosity of the Irish government Merlin Holland, applied for an Irish passport to return its compliment. ‘I then realised that I could probably qualify for foreign birth registration anyway as my grandfather was born in Ireland,’ he says from the home he shares between Dijon and Lyon with his second wife Emma.
‘I have now received my passport so the French can’t throw me out after Brexit and my wife will be able to travel to the UK, where she likes to have her hair cut.’
Holland, who has written numerous books about his grandfather, concludes: ‘Even though I have found grandfather exasperating at times, it is nice to discover he has been able to help me 119 years after his death.’
Like Merlin, the Irish author and playwright spent most of his life as an expat.
FAVOURITE OSCAR WILDE QUOTES
“Never love anyone who treats you like you’re ordinary.”
“Be yourself. Everyone else is already busy.”
“The best way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it!”
“Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go.”
We’re born alone, we live alone, and we die alone. Only through our love and friendship can we create the illusion for the moment that we are not alone.”
“Between men and women, there is no friendship possible. There is passion, enmity, worship, love, but no friendship.”
“Women are made to be loved, not to be understood.”
“If you are not too long I will wait here for you for the rest of my life.”
“A man can be happy with any woman as long as he does not love her.”
“Men always want to be a woman’s, first love. Women always want a man to be her last romance.”
“I see when men love women; they give them a little bit of their lives. But women, when they love, give everything.”
“To give and not expect anything in return, that is love.”
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