THE GUILLOTINE; No 30: A E HOUSMAN

Twentieth-Century Classics That Won't Last

Right of Reply: Merlin Holland

Oscar Wilde's grandson replies to an article by David Benedict about that author's ubiquity

Wilde: An Unworthy Son

DAYS AFTER he left Reading Gaol on 8 May 1897, Oscar Wilde (right) wrote to Henrietta Stannard, saying he was an "unworthy" son.

Let criminals publish and be paid

If newspaper serialisation can be justified for Nick Leeson, why not Myra Hyndley or the Wests?

Lines better left under lock and key

JONATHAN AITKEN might imagine he has much in common with Oscar Fingal O'Flaherty Wills Wilde. Both survived demanding maters and difficult Dublin childhoods. Both preened and peacocked around smart London society, with explosive secrets well hidden under perfectly tailored suits. Both provoked their own downfall with libel actions requiring them to fib in court.

Letter: A miner's lot

ir: I recently received my copy of the National Theatre's summer programme and my "Dear Mailing List Member" letter from Trevor Nunn. In his letter Mr Nunn makes the analogy between being director of the National and being a miner. For example he begins, "I am writing to you having just come up blinking into the daylight for a few hours before I go back down the mine," and ends with: "Now I must get my canary and go back down into the pouring dark."

COMEDY: GIG OF THE WEEK

Jeff Mirza Sun

Aitken Sentenced: The liar impaled on his own sword of justice

AS JONATHAN Aitken was taken down to the cells yesterday he blew a kiss to his family. It was the first and only sign of emotion from a man once tipped to be Prime Minister. He was sentenced to 18 months in jail.

Words: Obsession

THERE WAS a time when anyone who got further than elementary school was required to learn all the figures of speech - zeugma, hypallage, litotes, prolepsis, anacoluthon and the rest - as part of the English curriculum. It was really only a vestigial throwback to the medieval education system with its quadrivium and its trivium, the trivium being a mixture of grammar, logic and, of course, rhetoric. It all came back to me the other day when I was reading an item in the Express about Tony Blair, and came across a lovely oxymoron.

Books: Why sticking strawberry ice cream down the Prince of Wales's back is a bad idea

Lillie Langtry: Manners, Masks and Morals

Theatre Review: Gross Indecency

Gielgud Theatre, London W1 (0171-494 5065)

Theatre: Wilde at heart

GROSS INDECENCY

Cubist collage brings arresting drama to life

First Night Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde Gielgud Theatre London

Witness for the West End production

Who needs a script when a transcript can be even more dramatic? Robert Butler reports on how art now imitates courtroom life
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