Writers influence our life too!

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Artists all over the world have been victims not only of literary criticism but also political and ideological conspiracies. The biggest flak received by any form of artists are writers. Be it journalists or authors; writers have been a target of many attacks by both political agencies and the people. There are times when they do cross the line; but what many fail to understand is that in the case of authors, they have the creative liberty to present a city, country, organization or religion the way they want. But writing against say an ideology, supporting one or satirically pointing out its defects have always resulted in unpleasant consequences for them even to the extent of banishing them from the country.  Usually, it is also the personal lives of the writers that are highlighted for this purpose (at times they are personal attacks too).

I have listed just two authors who despite their intelligent, delightful and captivation manner of writing have been victims of narrow – minded groups of people. I shall also highlight one of their works with the hope that while reading them, one shall take some time out of their busy lifestyle to ponder over what’s written and what questions (if any) they leave you with.

OSCAR WILDE

 

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Oscar Wilde (picture courtesy www.poetseers.org)

 

An Irish writer and poet, Wilde was very controversial in Victorian England (19th Century). His extravagant way of life had earned him quite a position in the society. Witty and extremely social, Wilde was infamous for his personal life – an alleged relationship with a young son of one of the eminent men in the society. He was sued for ‘gross indecency’ and went to prison for two years. Ironically, it was during this time that his most famous works The Importance of Being Earnest and The Picture of Dorian Gray received both public and critical aim. When he was released, his rejection in England made him leave for France. Although the former work which is a play is a little more famous than the latter, it is the latter which I would like to write a little about.

‘There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written. That’s all.’ This is one of the lines in the preface of Dorian Gray. A simple tale with extremely vivid description, Dorian Gray is a story of a young man by the same name who in a fit of obsession over his beauty prays that he may never age; and that’s exactly what happens. However, instead of him, his portrait shows extreme signs of ageing with a change in facial contours as years pass by. He resorts to ‘evil’ deeds. Murder even. The portrait faces the brunt by turning into and utterly ugly and repulsive looking individual. Dorian Gray does see these changes and is aware of his doings, but that doesn’t stop him. The novel is an extremely illustrative take on the high society of England, the extreme importance given to money, social status and physical appearances. Has the society changed since then? Do we really accept the ‘signs’ of our degrading attitude and behavior in the society and towards ourselves?

I can’t help but think of the ingenious work Wilde would have written if he was allowed to live in England. Oscar Wilde died at the age of 46 in poverty – stricken conditions in Paris, but till this day remains one of the greatest Victorian writers.

 

DARIO FO

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Dario Fo (source: www.nobelprize.org )

A relatively unknown playwright out of the literature world, Dario Fo is an Italian playwright, singer, comedian and political campaigner. He was one of the most controversial figures of the twentieth century and wrote against the fascist Italy, religion and often his plays performed amidst protests and attacks from the various right – winged groups. He has been subjected to several violent physical attacks. In very shocking incident, his wife was sexually assaulted and tortured by a group of men in the 1960’s. His plays have always been a target of several political groups and he in turn very boldly writes against them.

His most famous play The Accidental Death of an Anarchist is set against the backdrop of real events of Milan in 1960’s when a suspected anarchist accused of a bomb explosion in a bank fell off to his death from the fourth floor of the police headquarters. He was acquitted three weeks later. This raised the question if he was killed or used as a distraction from the various corrupt policies and scandals of the then government. Such deaths are even more common today. Even though we are witnessing a major technological revolution and information is at our fingertips, how much attention do we pay to practices of our government? Do we raise our voice? Do we at least support those who are?

Reading books is considered to be a bore by many. But I have always been of the opinion that those who read are the well – informed and have the ability to think about what is happening around them. Accept it or not, books either reflect the underlying truth of the society or the demands of the society. Authors who have contributed in making these beautiful pieces of art should not be ostracized this way. I have given just two authors, but they are many such examples. It doesn’t take much effort to take a break from our busy schedules, read their work and think about what they are trying to say amidst pages of illusion and romance.