Welcome back to DegenerateReads!
Previous Oscar Wilde Read-through Posts:
This month’s work was Salomé, a tragedy originally written in French, but later translated to English. It is a one act play telling the biblical story of Salomé—stepdaughter of Herod Antipas, the tetrarch—who calls for the head of Jokanaan as reward for dancing for her step father.
I’ve agonized over whether or not to even bother sharing my thoughts on this one, but decided to stick to my original intention for this series, which is to simply talk about Wilde’s work. This would mean sharing my thoughts on his work, even if I don’t have much to say, or have decidedly negative things to say. Both of which is the case here.
In my edition of the Complete Works of Oscar Wilde, Salomé is only about twenty pages long. And yet, I still DNF’d it with only six pages to go. I’ve had this sitting beside my bed for about a month now—and not only have I had to force myself to pick it up, but when I do, I can only get a couple of pages in before I put it back down.
Now to be fair, I don’t think it’s the play itself that is the problem. While I did find the lines in this to be repetitive and dull, I think my lack of appreciation may be because of the translation. This is something I’ve heard others complain about as well, and most seem to agree that it’s much better in it’s original version.
Wilde allowed Lord Alfred Douglas to translate Salomé because the two were so close, but did later express regret at that decision saying: “We had, not unnaturally indeed, differed on the question of the artistic value of your translation of Salomé…”.
Although I’m not a big fan of biblical stories, and have little to no knowledge of them, I think I might’ve enjoyed this had I read a better translation. I may try again in the future.
The next Wilde work I’ll be reviewing is The Canterville Ghost.
Let me know if you’ve read this play, and what you’re thoughts were. Comment if you have any specific requests. Follow DegenerateReads for more bookish content, social media links are below as always, and thanks for reading!
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