In a 1954 essay from TNR’s archives, literary critic George Woodcock celebrated Oscar Wilde as an “original and daring” thinker who was “not merely the writer of several permanently readable books, but also a great personality and a seminal influence of unusual persistence”:
Wilde’s broadest appeal lies in the mood of daring thought and enthusiasm from which such insights emerged. It is significant that he had always attracted the adolescent, and in this way has influenced the literary and intellectual awakening of each generation that has followed his own. “I have met no one who made me so aware of the possibilities latent in myself,” said William Rothenstein, remembering his own youth, and many young people who have met Wilde only through his writings have found there an invaluable stimulus at certain stages of their development. This peculiar appeal to the young arises not only from the romantic iconoclasm of Wilde’s ideas, but also from the almost adolescent zeal with which he champions them.
(Hat tip: Cassandra Neace)