Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)

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


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Introduction & Lighter Reading

"Oscar Wilde." Articles on Wilde's techniques, themes, biography, and the Victorian background. The Victorian Web, ed. George Landow.

"Oscar Wilde." A biography and introduction to Wilde, includes a list of his works and a recommended reading list. Poetry Foundation.

Siegel, Sandra F. "Oscar Wilde: The Spectacle of Criticism." An introduction to the career of Oscar Wilde, by Prof. Sandra F. Siegel. Cornell U Newsletter 17 (1996).

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

"The Importance of Being Merlin." Article about Merlin Holland, Oscar Wilde's grandson. 24 Nov. 2000. Also "The 10 most popular misconceptions about Oscar Wilde." 26 March 2005. (UK) Guardian.


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. Victorian Poetry 35 (1997) [first page only, blurred, 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." Victorian Poetry 35 (1997). On Wilde's national and cultural allegiance, whether English or Irish, in connection with his poetry [first page only, blurred, 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. Papers on Language and Literature 40, 1 (Winter 2004) [sub ser, questia].


Web Sites

"Oscar Wilde and the Fin de siecle." Links to manuscripts of Oscar Wilde at the UCLA Library. "The rare book library boasts the world's largest public collection of works by and about Wilde and has long served as a Mecca for Wilde scholars."

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

The International Association for the Study of Irish Literatures maintains an active web site and newsletter for publications and news on Irish authors, including Wilde.

The Journal of Pre-Raphaelite Studies, a refereed journal covering Pre-Raphaelite, aesthetic, and decadent art, culture, and literature.


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