Wilde's Intentions

Wilde's Intentions : The Artist in His Criticism

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What were Wilde's intentions? They had always been suspect, from the time of Poems, when the charge was plagiarism, to his trials, when the charge was sodomy. In Intentions (1891), the book on which his claim as a theoretical critic chiefly lies, and in two related essays, 'The Portrait of Mr W. H.' and 'The Soul of Man Under Socialism', Wilde's epigrammatic dazzle and paradoxical subversions both reveal and mask his designs upon fin-de-siecle society. In the first extended study of Wilde's criticism, Lawrence Danson examines these essays/dialogues/fictions (unsettling the categories was one of their intentions) and assesses their achievement. Danson sets Wilde's criticism in context. He shows how the son of an Irish patriot sought to create a new ideal of English culture by elevating 'lies' above history, levelling the distinction between artist and critic, and ending the sway of 'nature' over liberated human desire.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 208 pages
  • 137.2 x 214.4 x 12.2mm | 313.52g
  • Oxford University Press
  • Clarendon Press
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • New edition
  • New edition
  • bibliography, index
  • 0198186282
  • 9780198186281

Review quote

"Lawrence Danson's Wilde's Intentions: The Artist and His Criticism provides illuminating and considered readings and contextualizations of Wilde's essays."--Studies in English Literature, 1500-1900show more

Table of contents

Note on Texts and Abbreviations; Introduction; 1. Intentions; 2. 'The Decay of Lying'; 3. 'The Truth of Masks'; 4. 'Pen, Pencil, and Poison'; 5. 'The Portrait of Mr W. H.'; 6. 'The Critic as Artist'; 7. 'The Soul of Man Under Socialism'; Notes; Bibliography; Indexshow more