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BirbaJ - Sapiens - 580 Punti
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Per favore aiutatemi con questa traduzione che il traduttore è peggio di me con l'inglese!!! è molto importante!!!

OSCAR WILDE (1854-1900)

Wilde’s aestheticism

Aestheticism. Which comes from a Greek word which means “to feel” “to perceive” stresses sensations as the primary source of art: the artist, a sort of “transcriber”, has to feel sensations, to live them “aesthetically” and to make the reader feel them, too.
It was mainly a nation against Victorian values and their insistence that art should have a moral or social function; but it also had post-Romantic roots. Although Aesthetic and Decadent verse often seems particularly anti-Romantic in its emphasis upon corrupt or hostile nature, its devotion to brevity and changes of direction leads to that most Romantic of forms, the lyric. Whereas the poetry associated with the movement generally appears serious and somber – members of this movement, like other Victorians, certainly believed in the importance of being earnest – the nonfiction widely varies in tone from Walter Pater's seriousness to the often self-reflexive mockery of Wilde.

The rebel and the dandy. Wilde affirmed: “My life is like a work of art”. In fact he lived flamboyantly and ostentatiously, dividing his time between high society and “bohemian” circles, in the double role of rebel and dandy. Anyway there are substantial differences between the bohemian and the dandy, because the bohemian is allied with the masses (urban proletariat) and the dandy is a bourgeois artist who remains a member of his class.
The Wildean dandy is an aristocrat whose elegance is a symbol of the superiority of his spirit; he uses his wit to shock, and is an individualist who demands absolute freedom. Wilde asserted that the more sensations the dandy could absorb, the richer and the nearer perfection his personality would be dandyism. It was a way to fight banality through “the cult of oneself” because dandyism is social, human and intellectual, it is a theory of life, a way of existing. In him the only way to face the despair and emptiness of existence was not religion or a commitment to duty, but hedonism. Beauty was the supreme experience of life, and art was the superior reality.

Art for art’s sake. The phrase expresses the belief held by many writers and artists, especially those associated with Aestheticism, that art needs no justification, political, didactic, or other end. This concept was to Wilde a moral imperative in fact he believed that only “Art as the cult of Beauty” could prevent the murder of the soul.

The picture of Dorian Gray

The plot. Dorian is a naive very handsome young man. He is unaware of his beauty until he sees a portrait of himself. He sees how good looking he is and realizes that when he gets old, he may will be ugly and the painting will mock him, so he makes a kind of pact with the devil: he expresses the wish never to lose his beauty. The wish becomes true and he remains a very handsome man. As time passes, the amount of positive and negative experiences mark the portrait: as Dorian becomes a murderer and a liar, the picture gets uglier. Later on, he meets a man who shows him the importance of his beauty; in fact he becomes the favourite in the saloons of the time, thanks to his splendour. Dorian isn’t able to feel true feelings, but he is only aware of the charm of his beauty. When Dorian looks at the picture, it is so ugly: he wants to get himself rid from the painting, witness to his spiritual corruption, he stabs it but he mysteriously kills himself. When the police finds Dorian, he is old and wrinkled like the painting and the portrait has returned to normal shape.

Narrative technique. This story is told by an unobtrusive third-person narrator; the prospective adopted is internal, and this allows a process of identification between the reader and the character.

The typical dandy. Dorian is the protagonist, the typical dandy who thinks man should live life in full, realizing his wishes and his dreams. Dorian believes youth is synonymous with beauty and happiness.

Allegorical meaning. This story represents a 19th-century version of the myth of Faust, the story of a man who sells his soul to devil, so that all his desires might be satisfied. This soul becomes the picture, which records the signs of his experience, the corruption, the horror and the sins concealed under the mask of Dorian’s timeless beauty. The portrait stands for the dark side of Dorian’s personality, his double, which he tries to forget by locking it in a room.
The moral of this novel is that every excess must be punished and reality cannot be escaped; when Dorian destroys the picture, he cannot avoid the punishment for all his sins, that is, death. The picture is a symbol of the immorality of the Victorian middle class, while Dorian and his pure appearance are symbols of bourgeois hypocrisy. Finally the picture, restored to its original beauty, illustrates Wilde’s theories of art: art survives people, art is eternal.

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