Oscar Wilde was a courageous individualist whose path-breaking life and work were shaped in the crucible of his time and place, deeply marked by the controversies of his era. This collection of concise and illuminating articles reveals the complex relationship between Wilde's work and ideas, and contemporary contexts including Victorian feminism, aestheticism and socialism. Chapters investigate how Wilde's writing was both a resistance to and quotation of Victorian master narratives and genre codes. From performance history to film and operatic adaptations, the ongoing influence and reception of Wilde's story and work is explored, proposing not one but many Oscar Wildes. To approach the meaning of Wilde as an artist and historical figure, the book emphasises not only his ability to imagine new worlds, but also his bond to the turbulent cultural and historical landscape around him - the context within which his life and art took shape.
Table of Contents
Preface; Chronology; An appreciation: Oscar Wilde: the art of the somdomite Mark Ravenhill; Part I. Placing Wilde: 1. Son and parents: Speranza and Sir William Wilde Sean Ryder; 2. Wilde's Dublin; Dublin's Wilde Jerusha McCormack; 3. Oxford, Hellenism, male friendship Philip E. Smith, II; 4. An aesthete in America Leon Litvak; 5. Wilde's London Matt Cook; 6. Wilde and Paris John Stokes; Part II. Aesthetic and Critical Contexts: 7. Wilde's poetic traditions: from Aristophanes' Clouds to The Ballad of Reading Gaol Joseph Bristow; 8. William Morris and the house beautiful Marcus Waithe; 9. Wilde and British art Richard Dorment; 10. Aubrey Beardsley and Salome Susan Owens; 11. Between two worlds and beyond them: John Ruskin and Walter Pater John Paul Riquelme; 12. Wilde, Henry James, and the fate of aestheticism Michèle Mendelssohn; 13. Style at the fin de siècle: aestheticist, decadent, symbolist Ellis Hanson; 14. Poisoned by a book: the lethal aura of The Picture of Dorian Gray Peter Raby; 15. Rewriting farce Kerry Powell; 16. Bernard Shaw and 'Hibernian drama' Anthony Roche; 17. Wilde, the fairy tales, and the oral tradition Jarlath Killeen; Part III. Cultural and Historical Contexts: Ideas, Iterations, Innovations: 18. Oscar Wilde's crime and punishment: fictions, facts, and questions Merlin Holland; 19. Wilde and evolution David Clifford; 20. Dandyism and late-Victorian masculinity James Eli Adams; 21. Oscar Wilde and the New Woman Margaret D. Stetz; 22. Wilde and socialism Josephine Guy; 23. Wilde and Christ Jan-Melissa Schramm; 24. Aestheticism Ruth Livesey; 25. Journalism Mark W. Turner; 26. Censorship of the stage: writing on the edge of the allowed Helen Freshwater; 27. Feminism Barbara Caine; 28. Wilde and the law H. G. Cocks; Part IV. Reception and Afterlives: 29. Reception and performance history of The Importance of Being Earnest Joseph Donohue; 30. Reception and performance history of Wilde's 'society plays' Sos Eltis; 31. A short history of Salome Steven Price; 32. Wilde and stage design: some deductions, appraisals and selected instances Richard Cave; 33. Wilde life: Oscar on film Oliver S. Buckton; 34. Wilde and performativity Lynn Voskuil; 35. Wilde and his editors Russell Jackson; 36. Wilde's texts, contexts and The Portrait of Mr W. H. Ian Small; Further reading.