Delusional, or Just Plain Confident.

Oscar Wilde, whose writing it is said was way ahead of its time, was a fascinating character, contentious, outrageous, yet prophetic and challenging. It was his inflated perception of himself that made him larger than life and so ludicrous to certain people at times. Someone, I forget who, described his life as an ongoing performance.

The other day I was reading a piece entitled, “The Anecdotal Wilde” and found this little anecdote describing his sheer confidence in himself. I just had to smile when I read it.

While watching a well-known French poet making a scene at a banquet because he hadn’t been seated at the head table, Wilde was absolutely struck by the absurdity of the protest.

“Could anything be more petty,” he asked, “a greater revelation of insignificance? Now for me, the highest place is always where I am myself.”

Was he delusional, or just plain confident? It’s always hard to tell with Oscar Wilde.

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About Don

I love life. Sometimes it makes sense, other times not. Discerning its underlying patterns and beauty always provides great reward and meaning and is a passion I ineptly follow. I feel deeply attached to nature and love the sea with its distinct moods and colour and find walking along its beaches wonderfully inspiring. Writing, sketching and photography is a sheer joy for me and the blog is one of the places I am able to express these pursuits.
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20 Responses to Delusional, or Just Plain Confident.

  1. Hudson Howl says:

    Hard to tell I suppose. Though I’m wondering if merely he was stating he was at piece with himself at that time and place. That the quiet struggles to find the ‘self’ is far more import than self-righteousness as in the case of the sanctimoniousness French poet -I guess am in the mindset that poets should be sympathetic not selfish that just opinion. But deep deep down do you think it possible for one to detect self-confidence in anyone. Or is confidence and self-confidence to completely things? Confidence is outward where as self-confidence is deep seated and more of internal struggles. I’ve known a few extremely confident people whom have ended their life.

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    • Don says:

      The little I know of Wilde is that he did display an outward confidence that was absolutely breathtaking at times, but beneath it all there was a deep inner insecurity, but somehow he was able to turn that in to genius. I think you’re right, a deep seated confidence does come out of that internal struggle with our insecurities which hopefully leads to a being at peace with who we are, or “finding the self” as you put it.

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  2. nrhatch says:

    Love that anecdote! Wilde was wild! 😀

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    • Don says:

      You’re right Nancy, he was wild, so completely non conventional and such a thorn in the flesh of the society of that day. I think that was something of his attractiveness, but also something of the self-destructive element in him. As Katy says, boastful,bombastic, but sheer genius.

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  3. Katy says:

    I have to say that the French poets behaviour is what stood out for me as being extremely self confident or delusional. Who but a person totally full of himself and absolutely immune to the fuss and unpleasantness he was causing would throw his toys out of his cot because he felt “slighted”.
    I much prefer Oscar Wilde,s, in this instance, quiet self confidence. But then maybe he was just being his boastful, bombastic self.!!

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    • Don says:

      Thanks Katy. Wilde’s response does seem more composed and confident than the poet’s, but knowing something of him, which you no doubt know, I think he always tended to be just a stone’s throw away from that same kind of behaviour. The more I read about Wilde, certainly one of the most colourful figures of the Victorian era, the more fascinated I become.

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      • lyn Stephenson says:

        My favourite play, which I’ve seen about six times over the years is the ‘Importance of being Ernest.’ Brilliant!

        I don’t believe Oscar Wilde was delusional. I think he was someone who was in constant conflict with his homosexuality in puritanical, Victorian England. I think he used his natural wit, his writing and public displays to express something of this inner conflict.

        Apparently, he often emphasised the importance of self realization instead of reliance on outside sources for validation, which suggests to me he was serious about an inner journey. I think his self confidence was possibly the result of self knowledge and being comfortable in his own skin, in spite of the conflict.

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    • Don says:

      Thanks Lyn. I love the the play as well. There’s that little encounter between between Lady Bracknell and Algernon which is so funny.

      Algernon: The doctors found out that Bunbury could not live…so Bunbury died.

      Lady Bracknell: He seems to have had great confidence in the opinions of his physicians.

      Interesting comments you made. I don’t think we can even begin to imagine that struggle you describe he had with his sexuality, especially in that kind of society. I wonder what that really did to him. Like what you say about his self confidence. All round, a fascinating, colourful and complex character.

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  4. ladyfi says:

    LOL – I love his confidence!

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  5. Let me answer in Wilde’s own words: I can believe anything, provided that it is quite incredible.

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  6. Len says:

    I think deep within us we are all like Oscar Wilde, it’s just how much we show that makes us acceptable or not.

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  7. Perhaps because my thoughts are on gentleness today, I wish he had left off the first part of his comment and simply said the second with a twinkle and a smile!

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  8. I am a huge fan of Oscar Wilde, so I shall tend towards guessing it was a display of his confidence. That’s not to say he wasn’t outrageous and probably delusional, but what a wonderfully bold and brilliant character he was! Thank you for sharing about him in this post. Fantastic photo you found as well. One of the better ones. Cheers, Gina

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    • Don says:

      Thanks Gina. I’m also a huge fan of his. I’ve just completed his “The Picture of Dorian Gray” for the third time. Wonderful book. Your words, “bold and brilliant” are so fitting when it comes to describing him. He was outrageous and a little delusional at times,but that’s precisely, in my opinion, what made him so unique, so colourful and courageous. Thanks for sharing.

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  9. With Wilde, it’s debatable. Part genius, part arrogance, part humor, part…???
    Great anecdote.

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