Branding Oscar Wilde traces the development and perception of Wilde’s public persona and examines the impact of interpretations of his writing. Through calculated behavior, provocative language, and arresting dress, Wilde self-consciously created a brand initially recognized by family and friends, then by the British public, and ultimately by large audiences over the world. That brand changed over the course of his public career—both in the way Wilde projected it and in the way it was perceived. Comprehending the fundamental elements of the Wilde brand and following its evolution are integral to a full understanding of his art. The study focuses on how branding established important assumptions about Wilde and his work in his own mind and in those of his readers, and it examines how each stage of brand development affected the immediate responses to Wilde’s writings and, as it continued to evolve, progressively shaped our understanding of the Wilde canon.
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