Oscar Wilde and Ancient Greece

Oscar Wilde and Ancient Greece

4.25 (4 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author) 

Free delivery worldwide

Available. Expected delivery to the United States in 8-11 business days.

Not ordering to the United States? Click here.


From his boyhood Oscar Wilde was haunted by the literature and culture of ancient Greece, but until now no full-length study has considered in detail the texts, institutions and landscapes through which he imagined Greece. The archaeology of Celtic Ireland, explored by the young Wilde on excavations with his father, informed both his encounter with the archaeology of Greece and his conviction that Celt and Greek shared a hereditary aesthetic sensibility, while major works such as The Picture of Dorian Gray and The Importance of Being Earnest maintain a dynamic, creative relationship with originary texts such as Aristotle's Ethics, Plato's dialogues and the then lost comedies of Menander. Drawing on unpublished archival material, Oscar Wilde and Ancient Greece offers a new portrait of a writer whose work embodies both the late-nineteenth-century conflict between literary and material antiquity and his own contradictory impulses towards Hellenist form and the formlessness of desire.
show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 298 pages
  • 152 x 230 x 15mm | 440g
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 2 Halftones, unspecified; 2 Line drawings, unspecified
  • 1107479940
  • 9781107479944
  • 1,678,280

Table of contents

Introduction; 1. Paideia; 2. Poiesis; 3. Archaiologia; 4. Philologia.
show more

Review quote

'An outstanding resource for future scholars of Wilde's immense classical learning.' The Times Literary Supplement 'Iain Ross's impressive analysis of Oscar Wilde's engagement with ancient Greece and Hellenism examines the way trends in Victorian scholarship, institutions, and texts influenced Wilde's lifelong love affair with Greek language and culture. Ross consults not only the editions of texts that Wilde used, but also, whenever possible, Wilde's own texts themselves with marginalia and extensive annotation, and provides interpretive analysis of this contradictory writer's often- complicated comments. This dedication to primary source material makes Oscar Wilde and Ancient Greece an indispensible resource for anyone studying Wilde's engagement with the Classics, a topic that has only recently attracted the attention of scholars in Victorian Studies and Classical Reception.' Serena Witzke, Bryn Mawr Classical Review 'Was Oscar Wilde's life a Greek tragedy, experienced as the working-out of the implacable curse laid on his line by some ancient god? That is the immediate question that springs to mind upon beginning Iain Ross's sparkling new book ... Ross's nuanced awareness of paradox honours Wilde's own, and makes the archival Bildungsroman of chapters 1-3 an engrossing read.' Gideon Nisbet, The Journal of Pre-Raphaelite Studies '... the debates present are original, well-conceived and offer readers a concrete position from which to expand and further consider the Wilde and Victorian New Hellenism.' Robert Finnigan, Nordic Irish Studies
show more

About Iain Ross

Iain Ross teaches English, Latin, Greek and Classical Civilisation at Colchester Royal Grammar School.
show more

Rating details

4 ratings
4.25 out of 5 stars
5 50% (2)
4 25% (1)
3 25% (1)
2 0% (0)
1 0% (0)
Book ratings by Goodreads
Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews. We're featuring millions of their reader ratings on our book pages to help you find your new favourite book. Close X