de Profundis (Paperback)
Written while its unfortunate author was a prisoner in Reading Gaol, De Profundis contains what is probably the most sincere and personal expression of his peculiarly artificial and sensitive nature. He records his bitterness toward society on his downfall, his abject grief during his first months of prison discipline, and then the gradual growth of repentant spirit, and a courageous resolve to go out into the world and complete his artistic career. As a human document this work possesses unique value and interest, and the beauty of its style entitles it to a high place in the literature of the time. would all be tainted for me, and lose their healing power, and their power of communicating joy. To regret one's own experiences is to arrest one's own development. To deny one's own experiences is to put a lie into the lips of one's own life. It is no less than a denial of the soul. For just as the body absorbs things of all kinds, things common and unclean no less than those that the priest or a vision has cleansed, and converts them into swiftness or strength, into the play of beautiful muscles and the moulding of fair flesh, into the curves and colours of the hair, the lips, the eye; so the soul in its turn has its nutritive functions also, and can transform into noble moods of thought and passions of high import what in itself is base, cruel and degrading; nay, more, may find in these its most august modes of assertion, and can often reveal itself most perfectly through what was intended to desecrate.