In De Profundis Oscar Wilde sees himself as “a man who stood in symbolic relations to the art and culture of my age.” In terms of both his life style and writing he was deeply influenced by Walter Pater and John Ruskin and eventually became one of the most notorious cultural heretics of late Victorian Britian.
The aim of the course is to explore the critical potential as well as the limits of his notion of aestheticism. We will study his only novel The Picture of Dorian Gray, 2 of his plays (The Importance of Being Earnest and Salome), a selection of his poetry and short stories, and a number of his essays on cultural criticism.
Participants are expected to have read The Picture of Dorian Gray, Salome, and The Importance of Being Earnest before the beginning of the term. I will provide a reader with critical texts at the beginning of the semester