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Title: Oscar Wilde : a Victorian sage in a modern age
Authors: Bastawy, Haythem
Keywords: Wilde, Oscar, 1854-1900
Modernism (Art)
Discourse analysis, Literary
Issue Date: 2015-06
Publisher: University of Malta. Department of English
Citation: Bastawy, H. (2015). Oscar Wilde : a Victorian sage in a modern age. Antae Journal, 2(2), 114-133.
Abstract: This paper assesses Oscar Wilde’s reaction to the fin de siècle and argues against his widely-accepted position as a main figure in the English avant-garde movement, a view which major literary critics such as Peter Gay, Sos Eltis and S. I. Salamensky promote today. Based on Foucault’s definition of modernity as ‘a break with tradition' rather than a specific time, I argue that Wilde was not the modernist author he is widely perceived as, but a conventional Victorian sage who cleverly adopted, and tailored, the fashion of his time to deliver his thoroughly traditional teachings. The paper is split into five sections. The first of deals with Wilde’s creation of his dandy self and the influences of Carlyle, Arnold and Christ over him; the second section examines Ruskin’s influence over Wilde’s theory of art, and Wilde’s self-perception; the third section continues to examine the influence of the Victorian sages on Wilde by exploring his criticism of contemporary modernity in some of his works; the fourth and fifth sections deal with Wilde’s views on the roles of the sexes and his homosexuality respectively, and weigh these views, through further close analysis of his works, against the argument of his modernity. The research ends by asserting that Oscar Wilde was thoroughly Victorian in his views and themes, and that he perceived himself as a sage for his modern age.
Appears in Collections:Antae Journal, Volume 2, Issue 2
Antae Journal, Volume 2, Issue 2

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