OSCAR WILDE & EDUARD VILDE STATUES
If you are walking along the busy Shop Street in Galway, you might notice a curious sight of two bronze statues of writers sitting on a bench, seemingly engaged in a chat. They are Oscar Wilde and Eduard Vilde, two literary figures who share more than a similar surname.
Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) was an Irish poet, playwright, and novelist, famous for his witty works such as The Importance of Being Earnest and The Picture of Dorian Gray. He was also a controversial figure in his time, due to his homosexuality and imprisonment for gross indecency.
Eduard Vilde (1856-1933) was an Estonian journalist, critic, and novelist, considered one of the founders of Estonian literature. He wrote realistic novels that depicted the social and political issues of his era, such as The War of Mahtra and The Milkman of Verona. He was also a diplomat and a supporter of Estonian independence.
The two men never met in real life, but they have a lot in common. They both lived in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, they both wrote in different genres and languages, and they both faced censorship and persecution for their views. They also both visited Paris, where they died and are buried.
The statues were created by Estonian sculptor Tiiu Kirsipuu in 1999, as a tribute to the two writers and their cultural connections. The original sculpture is located in Tartu, Estonia, while a replica was gifted to Galway by Estonia when it joined the EU in 2004 . The statues are made of bronze and sit on a granite bench, inviting visitors to join them or take a photo with them.
The Oscar Wilde & Eduard Vilde statues are more than just a quirky attraction. They are a symbol of the literary heritage and friendship between Ireland and Estonia, two small nations with rich cultures and histories. They are also a reminder of the power and beauty of words, and the challenges and joys of being a writer.
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