Oscar Wilde

Aestheticism
literary movement which developed in the university and intellectual circles of the 19th century (France and England). The main exponents where Pater and Ruskin.
It can be considered:
-reaction against Victorian materialism and earnestness (morality, social responsibility)
-refusal of art as a public duty. Art had not didactic role.

Principles of aestheticism:
-the cult of beauty
-pleasure, the quest for sensation and excess.
-they believe in art for art's sake= independence of art from political, moral
Art was useless

Life
he wrote a letter about his whole life, written in prison called De Prufundis.

1 He went to Oxford and he became a disciple of Pater. He studied the classics and he became a real dandy.
Dandy= at those times was someone who made fashionable, elegance and refinement his aim in life. His clothes were also extravagant to visually stand out in the crowd.

As a matter of fact also some of the protagonists of his works (the picture of Dorian gray) are actual dandies.
Youth+beauty+pleasure= happiness

Originally the dandy was bourgeois but the wildean dandy is the aristocrat whose elegance is the symbol of the superiority of his spirit.

2 his literary career


3 prison, solitude, he feels alone--> spiritual change. After prison he could not stay in England no more so he had to move to Paris where he died alone.

Style
-pure and simple Eenglish
-dialogue>narration

The Picture of Dorian Gray 1891
Narrative technique:
-unobtrusive third person narrator (he doesn't make comments but is capable of narrating the story both dealing with the external scene and the internal thoughts of the subjects through dialogues, revealing who they really are)

Characters
-flat/static characters eg. Henry doesn't develop throughout the story.

Preface
The prefaca thing as a moral or immoral book.Books are well written or badly written"
"All art is quite usele was added later on and it became the manifesto of aestheticism. It consists of a list of wilde's aphorisms (=witty and provocative saying or remark) . He defines the artists as a creator of beautiful things:,"to reveal art and conceal the artist is art's aim"
Eg. "There's not such ess" --> decadence of didacticism, rejection
Art for art's sake

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