Hear Oscar Wilde’s Voice, Which Sounds Exactly the Way You’d Imagine


Oscar Wilde was one of the greatest wits of all time, his quips and aphorisms as vital now as they were over a century ago. And since he also cut quite the flamboyant figure, dazzling and entertaining all of London society, it’s impossible not to imagine what it was like to be in the same room with the man as he announced, “Work is the curse of the drinking classes.” While we can’t imagine any lost video footage of Wilde, who died in 1900, will be forthcoming, we’re grateful to Open Culture for locating an audio clip of the author reciting two verses of his poem The Ballad of Reading Gaol. Although the recording isn’t great, his voice is definitely audible enough to make out the Irish-born writer’s cultivated accent and his sly, whimsical inflection. Can’t you just hear him leaning in to some aristocratic lady to exclaim, “Oh, you are wicked!”? Click through to hear Wilde’s voice, which begins about 45 seconds into the video.