Can Oscar Wilde be considered as a narrator in De Profundis?

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accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think we need to remember that this work is actually a strange mixture of genres. It seems to be part autobiography and part literary criticism, as Wilde relates his life to his works and puts them both together. Let us remember that Wilde wrote these epistles whilst he was serving the final months of his two year prison term for homosexuality, which was illegal at the time in Britain, and as a result these letters contain grim and realistic descriptions of what prison life was actually like and the brute reality that faced so many prisoners. However, at the same time, Wilde uses such experiences to discuss his literary canon and also key concepts, such as the relationship of fate to his current predicament. It therefore seems clear that Oscar Wilde is most definitely the narrator of this text, as it is he who is expressing his own thoughts about what has happened to him, what he is experiencing, and how his literature relates to his life.

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De Profundis

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