Social Issues – Oscar Wilde’s restored tomb was unveiled in Père Lachaise Cemetery, which ironically had to be fixed for something Wilde associated with “danger and even death;” a kiss. The gravestone was covered in lipstick marks left by women… although one can assume a few drag performers and men camped it up to leave kisses with a tube of lipstick.
The tomb, designed by Modernist sculptor Jacob Epstein, is now faced with a glass barrier to make it “kiss-proof.”
Out gay actor Rupert Everett, who wrote a screenplay about Wilde, and starred in a 2002 film adaptation of The Importance of Being Earnest said the tomb was “being eaten away by lipstick.”
It makes you think, if lipstick can eat away a tombstone, what do you suppose it does to lips?
Speaking of Wilde, Everret stated, “I find him very inspiring and touching, not just for his genius, also for his stupidity, in a way. He was a human being, and made mistakes like everyone else.” In 1895 Wilde was convicted of gross indecency and subsequently sentenced to two years in prison.
Present for the unveiling was the writer Merlin Holland, Wilde’s grandson. Although he is a direct descendant, Wilde’s wife took the name Holland to remove any association with her husband.
“The royalties on Oscar Wilde’s works disappeared many, many years ago, and there’s no way I could possibly have raised the money to do this myself. If my grandfather had been here he would have loved the attention.”
He also would have loved how society has opened up and accepted the LGBTQ community.
Read more at BBC.