Oscar Wilde and the Aesthetic Movement
He was born in Dublin, in 1854.
He was eccentric and quite witty. He has got a degree in literature.
He had a lot of success with his comedies, they were represented in all London theatres. He started wearing in a very extravagant way: he wanted to be noticed to everyone.
He was married and he had two children. He had a homosexual relationship with Lord Douglas, a very spoilt young man: he was accused and condemn to prison.
Wilde was a very unusual man in the Victorian society. He died in Paris in poverty in 1900.
His works are paradoxical: they have got some truth and they are a way to describe and to mark the society.
In the Victorian Age the appearance was very important. Society was false, superficial and materialistic. Oscar Wilde replace the moral code with his own values: beauty, art and youth (hedonistic values).
Aesthetic comes from Greek ‘aestesis’ it means ‘to feel’. You fell sensation when you see something beautiful. Wilde was an aesthete, as Dorian, he fells sensation when he sees something beautiful. Walter Pater is the theorist of the Aesthetic Movement.
The dandy is the English reaction to the Victorian life-style. In France we have the Bohemian ( the chose of a life poor, without luxury ).
Wilde introduced a new hero: the aesthete. Dandy loves beautiful things, he’s a pleasure seeking person and he knows what is wrong and what is right. He pays attention to clothes, he is rich and rafined person, but is also someone who loves extravagant behavior.
Life as a work of art
Art is the only form of eternity that we have. This concept is taken by Keats. ‘Art for art sake’, art gives you pleasure, you can’t love it.