The Green Carnation

The Green Carnation[EPUB] ✹ The Green Carnation Author Robert Smythe Hichens – An audacious comic fantasy satirizing the ways of society and parodying the mannerisms of certain popular writers Gay men in turn of the century Paris wore green carnations in their buttonholes On a v An audacious comic fantasy satirizing the ways of society and parodying the mannerisms of certain popular writers Gay men in turn of the century Paris wore green carnations in their buttonholes On a visit to The Green PDF/EPUB or Egypt in the winter of for his health Hichens met Lord Alfred Douglas and was introduced by him to Oscar Wilde who was already the most renowned author of his age Hichens returned to England and wrote The Green Carnation—epigrammatic and keenly satirical in tone—as a parody of Wilde's style with Douglas burlesued as Reggie Hastings and Wilde portrayed as Esme Amarinth The book was a huge success and it launched Hichens' fiction writing career Robert Smythe Hichens is also the author of The Garden of Allah Although at the age of seventeen he wrote a novel which was actually published he seems to have been most bent on a musical career; but he wearied of music and turned to journalism. My God this was physically painful A thinly veiled satire of Wilde and Lord Alfred Douglas apparently written by a friends of theirs and lifting loads of lines from their daily chat and if that is the case I am amazed anyone spoke to either of them Self satisfied pretentious drivel under a thin veil of moralising with bonus anti Semitism and vague fears of paedophilia Plus a weird plot whereby the Bosie character is trying to persuade a woman to marry him Pointless and rather poisonous with friends like this Wilde really didn't need enemies Let me just start off by refuting the official summary which states that Gay men in turn of the century Paris wore green carnations in their buttonholes Wilde wore a green carnation and encouraged his devotees to wear them on at least one occasion but it was never a widespread practice and its connotations with homosexuality were established long afterwards It is tempting to regard Wilde as a prototype gay activist proudly ueer suffering prison rather than deny his true nature but like most 19th century homosexuals Wilde did not make his nature widely known In fact he perjured himself in his eagerness to deny his homosexuality and was outed by his prison sentence No one can blame him for lying in a court of law; two years of hard labour was very often fatal and his friends did not expect him to live than six months in jail Back to the novella It is a straight out parody of the Aesthetic Movement and of Oscar Wilde and his lover Lord Douglas aka Bosie in particular No doubt it was hilarious to the 19th century reader much the way today's barbs about hipsters or emo kids will be meaningless in 100 years But in their day the Aesthetics were much mocked and satirical cartoons of Wilde and dismissive reviews of his lectures were published in many newspapers The plot is fairly flimsy; the elder society man Esme Amarinth has corrupted young Reggie Hastings until he too is intolerable daring in his wit sometimes amusing yet also petulant and shallow and extremely vain about his handsome appearance which he bolsters with all the care afforded to a young aristocrat Reggie meets Lady Locke at a country house party; she becomes superficially enchanted with his good looks but ultimately dissuaded by his shallowness and rejects himHitchens' writing seems to suggest that Hastings was not such a bad sort until he fell in with the degenerate Amarinth This is somewhat a reversal of the real life Wilde and Bosie for although the former was much older it was the latter whose lured Wilde into increasingly dangerous waters; feasting with panthers as Wilde described his sexual liasons with valets and boot blacks and the lower class of rent boy Amarinth's dialogue is so derivative of Wilde's uips that he is clearly a parody of the great writer but unlike Hastings Bosie was already thoroughly corrupted when he met Wilde and began their famous affairThere may be some coded references to homosexual but nothing terribly overt probably recognizable to the 19th century reader than to the modern one but the idea of a louche libertine older man corrupting a fresh faced younger one is certainly a Victorian trope with strong underpinnings of homosexual threat Never averse to a bit of free publicity Wilde appeared to take the publication of The Green Carnation in good stride even sending a congratulatory telegram to the young Hitchens But once disaster struck and Wilde was on trial Hitchens withdrew the novella immediately appalled that it might be used to cause further damage to Wilde's reputation Because of the trial and imprisonment and what we know today of Wilde's life The Green Carnation is hopelessly dated We can never return to that time when the brilliant young Aesthetic Wilde was mocked for his long hair and love of beauty and any hints that he was a Mary Ann were mostly harmless We can't read this book the way it was intended to resonate; inevitably we'll think of Wilde's trial and imprisonment that ensured he died a young but broken man For that reason I recommend this for Wilde fans or scholars of the Aesthetic movement and not for fans of 19th century fiction This book is one long Hipsters suck rant Hipsters in 1895 England being dandy aesthetes like Oscar Wilde and Bosie It's like Look at these rich kids pretending to be authentic and being creative the privileged bastards I am seething with with envy No wait I shouldn't be At least I am not a gaymo like tbose fags It was really funny to read Not funny like it was clever because it wasn't but funny like a car crash I’m not sure why there are so many negative reviews of this book I could uite easily imagine someone really enjoying itI had read on Wikipedia that this book was pulled from the shelves in 1894 after Wilde was imprisoned for the gay content in the book which is not true In the 1948 reprint of the book the author states he pulled the book from the shelves voluntarily after Wilde’s imprisonment as he thought it would be in poor taste to satirize a man facing hard time in jail The author mentions hearing about unlicensed American reprints in the early 1940’s and deciding to re issue the book at that timeThe author is famous for his work satirizing the 1890’s the “naughty nineties” I think they were called so I was expecting this book to be of a send up than it was Wikipedia in defining satire says “its greater purpose is often constructive social criticism using wit as a weapon” which is what we get here in The Green CarnationI was wondering if the author Hichens was gay himself but he died in 1950 so it’s hard to know He never married and even Wilde married so that’s a good indication I supposeI had anticipated of a send up of Wilde making him look ridiculous and instead got this book penned by a possibly gay devotee I will agree that the novel does fit the Wikipedia definition in that there is a lot of constructive social criticism In fact that’s pretty much the entire book with the plot Wilde et al go to the country and scare the locals a little lackingThe book starts off exploring Wilde as Esme Amarinth and the world around himI only saw about a dozen in the Opera House to night and all the men who wore them looked the same They had the same walk or rather waggle the same coyly conscious expression the same wavy motion of the head When they spoke to each other they called each other by Christian names Is it a badge of some club or some society and is Mr Amarinth their high priest? They all spoke to him and seemed to revolve round him like satellites around the sunAnd once the group is assembled Wilde spends most of it pontificating on life“Virtue is generally merely a form of deficiency just as vice is an assertion of intellect”These strawberries are very good he said I should finish them only I hate finishing anything There is something so commonplace about it Don't you think so? Commonplace people are always finishing off things and getting through things They map out their days and have special hours for everything I should like to have special hours for nothing That would be much originalMuch of the book is discussions on sin and virtue In some cases the book becomes a portent of things to come such as the following about injustice“Good people love hearing about sin Haven't you noticed that although the sinner takes no sort of interest in the saint the saint has always an uneasy curiosity about the doings of the sinner?”Society only loves one thing than sinning said Madame Valtesi examining the moon magisterially through her tortoise shell eyeglassAnd what is that? said Lady LockeAdministering injusticeI had read other reviews that said the gay issue wasn’t apparent but for 1894 I found it pretty open“A man is unnatural if he never falls in love with a woman A boy is unnatural if he prefers looking at pictures to playing cricket or dreaming over the white naked beauty of a Greek statue to a game of football under Rugby rules If our virtues are not cut on a pattern they are unnatural If our vices are not according to rule they are unnatural”Followed by“To be unnatural is often to be great To be natural is generally to be stupid”In the author’s 1948 introduction he details the three times he met Oscar Wilde before he published the book and the most interesting part of the book is to picture Wilde pontificating as he must have done at the time I thought the following said of Wilde in the guise of Mr Amarinth summed it up beautifullyI don't care to hear the opinions of Mr Amarinth she answered in a low voice His epigrams are his opinions His actions are performed vicariously in conversation If he were to be silent he would cease to live I see a lot of negative reviews here and I can understand the criticisms there's not much of a plot and none of the characters are particularly likable However as a Wildean interested in Wilde's influences it was fun for me to read perhaps even fun than I anticipated I just read Teleny and Des Grieux so well this was so much readable One reviewer labeled it 'real life fan fiction' and I think that's pretty accurate Many of the epigrams were pulled straight from Wilde or were so similar they might as well have been and that was one highlight of the book A line like this one would fit just as well in Earnest as it does in Hichens's work Moods are delightful I have as many as I have dresses and they cost me nearly as muchI took particular interest in the lines that spoke directly about Wilde the decadent movement and influenceartificiality Throughout the book makes many like sooo many allusions to decadence and it is interesting to me that these references are ambivalent in tone On one hand Hichens is obviously parodying the Wilde circle and decadent aesthetics with the silliness of the aesthetes in contrast with the morally upright and sensible Lady Locke Also spoiler alert the way Lord Reggie is rejected and makes excuses for it is a pathetic scene and moral indictment of his character On the other hand though any humor and readability stems from the aesthetic characters Without them there'd be no novel Notably they have the last word with Esmé chattering off to narrate the final pages as if they would be the ones—for all their delusions—who truly outlastoutsmart the healthy Lady Locke and her insufferable child Additionally some of the lines having to do with influence and echoes seem to me to be rather clever pieces of self reference For instance when Lady Locke insults Reggie for being merely an echo he replies “An echo is often beautiful than the voice it repeats” As a direct take off of Wilde’s work Hichens seems to say here that he can do it better than Wilde But Lady Locke still rejects Reggie for basically being an echo of nothing but a pose—as having essentially no substance of character But again though it’s a rejectioncriticism and Reggie is hurt by it it’s hard to see this as an unfettered victory of common sense over those silly aesthetes Reggie obviously wouldn’t have been happy with Lady Locke and not marrying her means that he doesn’t change or grow as a character but stays the same and continues his dandified lifestyle Neither Lady Locke or Reggie ultimately win this battle; they just decide to stop playing the gameSo I think Hichens achieved something here—a good example at least of parody that is in part a loving homage to its subject Life imitates art so do I The green carnation Oscar Wilde’s attribute as we know though his favorite colour was vermillion this artificial flower appears in books here and there Many writers have a dig at it as well as its owners “It is said a wild flower smells warmer if it’s smashed” and the green carnation has become the first symbol of people who declare their homosexuality a precursor to the rainbow flag Despite the widespread opinion the green carnation became a gay emblem after Oscar’s death and not before Wilde's descendent Merlin Holland in his “Irish Peacock and Scarlet Maruess” adduces the logical argument if the carnation were used as a symbol for a declaration of the sort in Wilde’s lifetime then the Maruis of ueensberry in his prosecution of Wilde had no need to prove anything searching hints between lines of The Picture of Dorian Gray The green carnation could do what the white lilies and sunflowers could not the flowers which made Wilde a target of caricaturists and which were but creations of nature The green carnations as such did not exist in Wilde’s times As far as I know usual carnations were placed in a special nutritive liuid which lent them the “Irish” colour A good example of ennobling Life by Art According to Richard Ellmann the green carnation first came into being or rather appeared in public at the premiere of Lady Windermere's Fan in 1892 February 20 That night Wilde asked several friends and an actor to put green carnations in their buttonholes “What does it mean?” asked Robertson Wilde replied “Nothing Let everyone rack brains over it” my inverse translationIn 1894 was first published the scandalous novel The Green Carnation by Robert Hichens whose lead characters are closely based on Oscar Wilde and Lord Alfred Douglas aka Bosie The book features the characters of Esme Amarinth Wilde and Lord Reginald Reggie Hastings Douglas The words put in the mouths of the hero and his young friend in the story are mostly gathered from the sayings of their originals Robert Hichens spent nearly a year in the company of the men and was able to accurately recreate the atmosphere and relationship between Oscar and Bosie The book was believed to be a satire to aestheticism and at the same time it proved to be a non fiction depicting an uncomplimentary characterization of the “chevalier of the green carnation” however this did not prevent many from ascribing its authorship to Wilde which necessitated him to write an official refutation “Yes I’ve invented this delightful flower But I have nothing to do with the common second rate book that has misappropriated the flower’s weirdly beautiful name The flower is a work of art The book is not by any means” my inverse translationThe weird flower took root not only in Britain; in the 1900s describing exteriors of Russian aesthetes the Moscow reporters freuently mentioned the green carnations in ears or hairThe book The Green Carnation was withdrawn from circulation in 1895 but by that time the harm had been done Wilde soon stood three consecutive trials for Gross Indecency and was sentenced to two years at hard labor The book was one of the works used against him by the prosecution The Green Carnation was republished in 2006 as a hardcover I know a lot about Oscar and Bosie; I really do and have researched and divulged into their lives for a while now I bought this book with extremely high hopes; after all this was an important piece of evidence used in Oscar's trail I fail to see how at all this book was used against Oscar He even said himself how poorly written this was While it was interesting merely due to the fact it was a rather realistic portrayal of the men and how they interacted the plot was dry and the book is not one I would recommend or reread There is honestly nothing in this novel that could make you think This has some homosexual subtext does it not? That is coming from someone who finds gay subtext in almost EVERYTHING I do think Robert Hichens writes well but maybe I think that due to the fact he was impersonating Oscar's style Bottom line I would not suggest buying I am someone who actually prefers character driven plots opposed to action ones but this book didn't have much character OR action Reading The Green Carnation is like reading Real Person Fanfic about Oscar Wilde and Lord Alfred Douglas Not Real Person Slash as the novel is too insistently discreet in its codings of homosexuality to explore their relationship to any great extent beyond mentormentee although there are many references to Lord Reggie's inability to really love women Hichens knew Wilde and Douglas socially and at first his satire seems fond but a harsher critiue is made through the vehicle of Lady Locke a wealthy young widow who despite her fondness for Lord Reggie rather judgementally though prudently declines his marriage proposal The approximations of Wilde's and Douglas's conversation in the persons of Esme Amarinth and Lord Reggie aren't bad though clearly parodic; there's also a dowager who seems to have drifted in from one of Wilde's plays Worth reading for Wilde fans who can handle some bitchiness directed in the great wit's direction This novel is a wonderfully wicked window into its era It loosely lampoons Oscar Wilde Bosie and the late Victorian decadent crowd with their aphorisms and their arch wit The title refers to green carnations as a corsage this style having been taken up in the 1890s in reference to ueer sexuality and decadence Make no mistake this success de scandale is Victorian junk food but it is delicious Well Clearly we've come pretty far in 100 years Hard to believe this disjointed and obliue parody of Oscar Wilde's style and lifestyle played any part in Wilde's getting sentenced to 2 years' hard labor and effectively being expelled from his homeland for the rest of his life The only harm I could imagine this book causing anybody nowadays is it causing them to fall dead asleep The wink wink cloaked references to homosexuality are SO cloaked as to be nonlegible I mean Middlemarch reads gayer than this and unlike this book Middlemarch doesn't save its most damning criticism for a cruel takedown of of all things CHOIRBOYS There's no plot no momentum no society intrigue and little to no humor I LOL'ed once; compare this to an onstage version of The Importance of Being Earnest I saw earlier this week where I was basically LOL'ing nonstop Worst of all the baroue epigrammaticness of it all is so totally over the top and inserted so unnecessarily it gets to the point of seeming completely random The extra star is for the only redeeming part of the book the Mrs Valtesi character whose sole purpose seems to be to act like some sort of Wildean color commentator for the reader keeping a running sarcastic commentary on all the sarcastic comments being made by the other characters

The Green Carnation PDF ✓ The Green  PDF/EPUB or
  • Paperback
  • 220 pages
  • The Green Carnation
  • Robert Smythe Hichens
  • English
  • 02 December 2015
  • 9781410108449