What Do You Do With a Great Writer Who Was a Hedonist?

“Few figures in literature merit both genuine admiration and profound pity as much as Oscar Wilde.”

Today I picked up Sense and Sensuality: Jesus Talks with Oscar Wilde on the Pursuit of Pleasure by Ravi Zacharias. The above quotation is the opening line of the introduction of the book. I have to admit that I feel the same way about Oscar Wilde.

I too believe that Oscar Wilde was a genius as a writer. I think The Importance of Being Ernest is hilarious. Some classmates and I read it together for English Literature II a couple years ago, and had a blast going through it and reading the parts out loud. Last year I read The Picture of Dorian Gray. A darker novel, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this examination of the human soul corrupted by pleasure. I think that Wilde was looking into his own soul as he wrote that book, examining what destruction his lifestyle had brought him. For although he was a genius, he was also a hedonist, and seemed to have no qualms about it. Throughout his life he struggled with his flesh, but eventually he gave in and followed his lusts wherever they took him, much like his character Dorian Gray.

My question is this: What do you do with a great writer who was a hedonist? How much does the character of the author contribute to your affection or dislike for the characters and stories that they have created? And does it matter?

I think that there is no harm in enjoying certain works such as Ernest. But often times the works have been completely corrupted by the perversions of the author. Because of this I am extremely wary of what I read from the secular realm. The character of the author will always show in their work. I avoid anything sexually explicit. When it comes to non-Christian writers I stick almost exclusively to the classics.

What do you think?

Editor’s note: This was supposed to be yesterday’s post, but our network was down yesterday and I wasn’t able to post it until today. We will return to our regular schedule on Monday. Have a great weekend!


4 Responses to What Do You Do With a Great Writer Who Was a Hedonist?

  1. micey says:

    i agree with you… when it comes to reading and seeing movies, i feel like now there isn’t a whole lot out there worth spending my time and energy on. I am much more selective now that i am a Christian. When the Holy Spirit came to live inside of me, everything changed. I find now that when i see a movie that is disturbing or scary, it just makes my spirit feel lousy and i then have to pray and read scripture to lift my spirit back up from the mud. It’s just not worth feeling lousy to see some popular movie or read some best seller. Even yesterday, I turned Oprah on for a couple of minutes to see her program was about listening to that new age inner voice that tells you what your purpose in life is and it made me feel very squidgy and i turned it off… Like the apostle Paul says, all things are permissible but not all things are good for us.

  2. The first time I experienced that “lousy” feeling after I got saved was at a hockey game. As many of my fellow Canadians, I enjoy hockey. But at the game I was surrounded by people cursing and taking the Lord’s name in vain. I never wanted to go to another game after that. Oprah definitely does that to me too. Someone once told me she was a Christian and objected when I strongly disagreed and claimed she was more new age than anything else. Unfortunately this nation loves to listen to the “gospel according to Oprah.”

  3. micey says:

    well she does claim to be a Christian I guess because she grew up going to the Baptist church, but there is no way she is a Christian… she promotes everything new age… i find new age stuff to be very creepy indeed… *shivers* i think it’s a great deception of the enemy… like the “children’s game” the ouija board…

  4. Alma says:

    I also agree with the comments, having experienced that same uncomfortable feeling which is the Holy Spirit. The Word of God says we are in the world, but not of the world. Romans 12:2- “and be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.

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