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Why did Oscar Wilde call Ada Leverson 'Sphinx'?

Oscar Wilde, famous for having written such plays as The Importance of Being Earnest and his only novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray, was a close friend of Ada Leverson, another writer. According to such sources as Wikipedia and 'Wilde', a 1997 movie based on a biography of Wilde's life, he called Leverson by the nickname Sphinx. Does anyone know why?

3 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Yes, Siddhart is on the right track however the nickname "The Sphinx" given to Ada Leverson was due to the fact that Wilde thought she was good at keeping a secret, and perhaps dangerous confidences, (as is the Egyptian Sphinx) and for remaining expressionless in the face of startling news or revelations. Wilde always referred to her affectionately as "my Sphinx".

    Source(s): "Oscar Wilde" a biography by Richard Ellermann
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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    I recently read a book about Oscar Wilde's book collection, and in it the autor said that Oscar could only relate to people if he gave them a name from fiction. I would suggest that given that, the Sphinx somehow drew comparisons with Ada in his mind.

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  • Karen
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    That statement seems a little homocentric to me. Wilde was a closet homosexual hiding his true love life and for him his marriage was a costume he wore to fool others into accepting him, hence the lack of friendship which he found in his relationships with men. I disagree with him but the point is he never wanted a woman for sexual reasons so he never gave them the chance to be his friend merely his companion.

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