One of the most famous - and infamous - letters in all of literature, De Profundis is a strange little piece of work: either much more than it appears on the surface, or much less. It is something I think everyone should read, if only for its insight into the human character, particularly that of one under great personal suffering. Wilde wrote this extraordinarily long letter from prison to Lord Alfred Douglas, his friend, lover, and the man who - by all accounts - was the reason Wilde was in jail in the first place. Despite repeated assertions in the first few pages alone to the contrary, Wilde seems reluctant to blame himself. He clearly blames Douglas to the hilt, and harbors a certain bitter resentment towards him. And yet... he clearly still hold much dear affection toward - and even loves - Douglas. He still seems to be asking for forgiveness - despite the fact that, by all accounts hardly excluding his own, he was the man wronged. It is quite clear from reading this letter that, desite the view history holds of him, Wilde was clearly a man of very high moral character. Certainly, one would not put Wilde atop a pedastal as the zenith of ethics - he himself says that morals contain "absolutely nothing" for him, and clearly admits - and is proud of - his having lived the high life to the hilt during his youth - but Wilde was a man of principles, and he stuck to those principles to the tragic, bitter end. Perhaps you might say he carried them too far. One gets the sense in reading this letter - or a biography of Wilde - that, not only could he have stopped his immiment imprisonment, but could have severed his ties with Douglas completely - had he wanted to. Apparently, he had his own utterly compelling reasons for not doing so. Whatever the case, Oscar Wilde is one of the most fundamentally and perpetually interesting characters in the whole of history. A self-described man of paradoxes - Wilde was subsequently the true essence of his time, while also being far ahead of his time - De Profundis makes for required reading by one of the most endlessly fascinating individuals you'll ever read about, and also provides a startling - indeed, perhaps too much so - insight into human nature.
De Profundis, though long for a letter, is not a long work in the conventional sense. Consequently, as many editions of Wilde's collected works are available, buying this on its own may be deemed questionable. I highly reccommend purchasing a Collected Works of Oscar if you have not done so already - it's well worth the price - but, should you desire to have more compact editions of specific works, an edition such as this will be privy to your needs.