Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)

A selective list of online literary criticism for the Victorian-era Irish playwright and novelist Oscar Wilde, favoring signed articles by recognized scholars and articles published in peer-reviewed sources

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Introduction & Biography

"Oscar Wilde." A brief introduction to Oscar Wilde, with additional articles on The Picture of Dorian Gray, aestheticism and decadence in the Victorian period, and more. Discovering Literature: Romantics and Victorians, British Library.

"Oscar Wilde." Articles on Wilde's techniques, themes, biography, and the Victorian background, some by Professor Landow, others by his best students. The Victorian Web, ed. George Landow.

"Oscar Wilde." Encyclopedia-type article on Wilde, includes a list of his works and recommended reading. Poetry Foundation.

Varty, Anne. "Oscar Wilde." An introduction to Wilde, from a service that provides signed literary criticism by experts in their field, and is available to individuals for a reasonably-priced subscription. Literary Encyclopedia, Eds. Robert Clark, Emory Elliott, Janet Todd.

"The Importance of Being Merlin." Article about Merlin Holland, Oscar Wilde's grandson and the man responsible for keeping his legacy alive. (UK) Guardian 24 Nov. 2000.

"Reading Wilde." An online exhibition in honor of the 100th anniversary of the trials of Wilde, from NYU library.

"When Walt Whitman Met Oscar Wilde." The New Republic 17 Oct. 2014.

Literary Criticism

Alkalay-Gut, Karen. "The Thing He Loves: Murder as Aesthetic Experience in The Ballad of Reading Gaol." On the central act of murder which opens The Ballad of Reading Gaol. In Victorian Poetry 35, 3 (Fall 1997) [free at jstor].

Clausson, Nils. "'Culture and Corruption': Paterian Self-Development versus Gothic Degeneration in Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray." On the connection between Dorian Gray and Walter Pater's Marius the Epicurian and the Gothic tradition. Papers on Language and Literature 39, 4 (Fall 2003) [sub ser, questia].

Ellmann, Richard and Susan Sontag. "Vautrin's Cigar." Letter exchange covering Balzac, Wilde, and Proust, in the NY Review of Books, 4 Aug. 1977.

Foster, David. "Oscar Wilde, De Profundis, and the rhetoric of agency." Foster considers Wilde's rhetorical strategies and motives in De Profundis, remarking that "De Profundis reproduces that fundamental conflict between power and victimization underlying the social identity Wilde had come to inhabit as an active homosexual. In the text he casts himself alternately as a tragic protagonist undone by hubris and a victim overwhelmed by repressive social forces. It is the tension between these roles that destabilizes the tone of De Profundis and creates abrupt shifts of mood. Papers on Language and Literature 37, 1 (Winter 2001) [sub ser, questia].

Frankel, Nick. "'Ave Imperatrix': Oscar Wilde and the Poetry of Englishness." On Wilde's national and cultural allegiance, whether English or Irish. Victorian Poetry 35, 2 (Summer 1997) [free at jstor].

Gregor, Ian. "Comedy and Oscar Wilde." The Sewanee Review 74, 2 (Spring 1966) pp 501-21 [free at jstor].

Green, Stephanie. "Oscar Wilde's 'The Woman's World.'" Victorian Periodicals Review 30, 2 (Summer 1997) pp 102-20 [free at jstor].

Marcovitch, Heather. "The Princess, Persona, and Subjective Desire: A Reading of Oscar Wilde's Salome." Marcovitch contends that Salome extends Wilde's critique of aestheticism begun in The Picture of Dorian Gray. In Papers on Language and Literature 40, 1 (Winter 2004) [sub ser, questia].

Quintus, John Allen. "The Moral Implications of Oscar Wilde's Aestheticism." Texas Studies in Literature and Language 22, 4 (Winter 1980) pp 559-74 [first page only, jstor].

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