Whitman is a great writer…. There is more of the Greek residing in him than in any modern poet. His poetry is Homeric in its large pure delight of men and woman, and in the joy the writer has and shows through it all in the sunshine and breeze of outdoor life.

But as we know, it was in Wilde himself more than anyone that the Greek spirit resided. If no one today seriously wishes that Wilde had become an Oxford classics don, it’s at least in part because his own “Greekness”—the deep understanding of the rhetorical uses of style, the taste for piquant syllogism, the ever-evolving aversion to sentimentality (which reached its apogee in Earnest), and, in the end, the tragic understanding of the meaning of suffering—made itself felt so strongly in the work he produced as a poet, writer, and dramatist.