Was born in 1854 in Dublin. After studying at Trinity College in Dublin, he was sent to Oxford where he was attacted to the aesthetic movement. After graduating he moved to London; beacuse of his flamboyant personality he becamethe leader of the aesthetic movement and was invited to the United States for a series of lectures in 1881. Oni his return to England he married Constance Lloyd and they had 2 children --> "a house of pomegranates". "happy prince and other tales","the picture of dorian gray" (mystery story) . His best play is "The importance of being Aernest" . In 1895 he was arrested and sent to prison because of his homosexual relationship and when he left prison he went to Paris and lived a miserable existence;he died alone in 1900.
The Picutre of Dorian Gray
The aesthetic doctrine. This is Wilde's only novel and the work that best sums up his aesthetic theories about a life of sensation and pleasure as the supreme form of art. For Dorian,the pursuit of pleasure and beauty was the true purpose of life. The prefaces contains some of Wilde's most famous statements such as “All art is quite useless”. Element of Mistery: The passage “Life as the Greatest of the arts” well describes the sense of mystery and pleasure with which Dorian creeps upstairs to the locked room that contains the picture. The end of the novel is in line with classic horror and crime stories(Dorian Gray has many points in common with The strange case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde) Moral Purpose: the novel would seem to have no moral basis,but the end is intensely moral:it seems to suggest that there's a price to be paid for a life of pleasure.
The passage describes Dorian's pleasure for what it is,a pleasure which is heightened when dorian carefully examines the portrait. it ends with the description of the refined things he loves to be surrounded by. The book involves a young Parisian hero, who reminds Dorian a lot of himself. The hero, like Dorian, was once incredibly beautiful, but suddenly loses his beauty. This terrifies Dorian. As the years pass, Dorian remains as beautiful as ever. Even though awful rumors circulate about him, people still love Dorian because of his seemingly innocent Dorian often looks at the portrait, He's obsessed with it, and delights in comparing his own untouched beauty with the marred portrait.All the young men try to imitate his grace and elegance.
Dorian, however, wants to find new sensations and pleasures everywhere. Dorian also dabbles at a lot of other things, like perfumery, music, jewels, famos luxury goods of antiquity, and textiles. All of Dorian's accumulated goods are just distractions from his real fascination – the portrait. Society takes note of Dorian's increasing oddness. The scandals only serve to make Dorian more seductive and fascinating, however, and he goes about his business relatively undisturbed. In his personal time, Dorian loves to stroll through the picture gallery of his house, looking at the portraits of his ancestors.
Theme: cult of beauty ,life beyond common morality and (sensual pleasure).
The forerunner of the Aesthetic Movement is the romantic poet Keats, with his cult of beauty and the awareness of the contrast art-life. Ruskin protested against the indifference of the materialistic Victorian Society to art and the beautiful. Ruskin supported the Pre-Raphaelites, a group of artists who rejected academic art in favour of the spontaneity and spirituality of Italian painters before Raphael. Swinburne was influenced by the Pre-Raphaelites and by French writers. Walter Patter is the main rapresentative of extetic movement,he tells that secret of happiness is absorption of beauty, the principles he tracked had a strong impact on Oscar Wilde, who was one of his students at Oxford. ( cult of deep and noble emotion in a life meant as a world of art)
The main features of English Aestetism
As a reaction to the victorian materialistic some writers thought that art was to be self sufficient without moral or political purpose. O.W. established himself as a speaker man of the school or "art for art sake". The prefaces of the P.D.G is considered a manifesto of aesthetic art: -artist is the creator of beautifun things. -the critic is he who can translate into another matter or a new material his impression of beautiful things. -There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written. -No artist has ethical sympathies. An ethical sympathy in an artist is an unpardonable mannerism of style. -No artist is ever morbid. The artist can express everything. - Vice and virtue are to the artist materials for an art. -It is the spectator, and not life, that art really mirrors. -Diversity of opinion about a work of art shows that the work is new, complex, and vital.