From The Happy Prince to ‘Lady Lazarus’ and Iris: A Memoir
Writers in British society and tales of their private lives and personal affairs
in Sex and desire in British films of the 2000s
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Chapter 2 explores the cycle of British biographical pictures from the 2000s which examined the creative writing lives and personal relationships of a varied set of authors By focusing on three films centring on the extreme (but not necessarily exceptional) situations experienced by Oscar Wilde (1854–1900), Sylvia Plath (1932–1963) and Iris Murdoch (1919–1999), I will consider how these authors are depicted living a life in exile after imprisonment for homosexual offences; seeking to be creative while coping with a partner’s adulterous behaviour and facing losing their memory and powers of reason after being struck down by a terrible illness (Alzheimer’s disease). The films offer powerful portrayals of individuals seeking love, sexual fulfilment and success in their chosen careers over a period in British social history spanning the 1890s to the 1990s, while having to deal with situations which lead to despair, debilitation and eventually death.

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