Wilde gains entry to Abbey

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The Independent Online
OSCAR WILDE, the scandalous wit and dramatist, was ostracised by Victorian society after his affair with Lord Alfred Douglas. Now, a century on, the Establishment is finally embracing the prodigal by including him in Poet's Corner at Westminster Abbey, writes Glenda Cooper.

The 1890s enfant terrible will be the next person to be commemorated in the new memorial window, which was unveiled a month ago. He joins the poets Alexander Pope and Robert Herrick.

The Dean of Westminster said that Wilde - who claimed that the only way to get rid of temptation was to yield to it - was a perfectly proper person to be in Westminster Abbey.

'He is someone who has made a major contribution to the literature of his nation,' the Dean said. 'Someone who is likely to be remembered 100 years after his death and someone who is not a militant atheist . . . Wilde was basically a religious man.'

The Dean added that the plaque was a way of recognising the dramatist's gifts and talents 'in a way that would not have been possible in his time'. It will be unveiled on 14 February 1995, the centenary of the opening night of The Importance of Being Ernest, regarded as Wilde's most famous work.