February 25, 2009 CREATEDATE 2/25/09 10:12 AM Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) Irish, eccentric parents Educated in Dublin and at Oxford Studied under Peter International fame: America (1882) ?I have nothing to declare but my genius? Marriage to Constance Lloyd Cyril (1885); Vyvyan (1886) Constance later changes their last names to Holland Affair with Alfred Douglas (Bosie) Wilde?s ?Fall? Homosexuality is illegal in Britain at this time Wilde sent to prison ? two years hard labor Most Famous Works: The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890) His only novel The Importance of Being Earnest (1895) De Profundis (Written: 1897; Published: 1905) Letter that was supposed to be sent to Alfred Douglas about the whole situation ?The Ballad of Reading Gaol? (1898) Poem about his experiences in Jail Preface to The Picture of Dorain Gray ?All art is quite useless? People admire art in ways that can seem crazy It?s only useful to someone who enjoys it We?re overanalyzing art The quality of it being useless MAKES IT ART Decadence: art for art?s sake It doesn?t have a function beyond being art We should just value it for what it is Dickens? Christmas Carol has a moral lesson Wilde says we don?t need that! Caliban Monster from the Tempest Realism The reason society is upset is because realism shows society who they actual are, and that reality is not very pretty We go to films and read books and admire art to escape our real lives Romanticism Dreamland Realism is too real for society, yet Romanticism is too fantastic and mystical for them ? these are two too far extremes ? we need some middle ground Pater?s Influence Idea of Beauty Pater had the original ?art for it?s own sake? and Wilde takes that to the extreme Wilde goes WAY farther than Pater: Wilde goes a lot farther than Pater to get to the idea of amorality (lack of morality ? no concept of morality or immortality; apathy) The Importance of Being Earnest This is still relevant today! This play is so quick-witted, it is performed very fast; doesn?t take two hours to perform Class Lady Bracknell breaks off Gwendolen and Jack?s engagement because Jack was found (or in her eyes, born) in a handbag Servants Lane View of marriage in the lower class No moral responsibility in Algy?s eyes Role of Fiction Fiction becomes reality Cecily writes herself letters ?from Algy? Cecily buys her own jewelry ?from Algy? AND ALGY IS FINE WITH IT! It?s hilarious! Jack in a handbag Miss Prism was confused and put Jack in the bag and her novel in the stroller Fiction and Reality are interchangeable Food A transition tool Cucumber Sandwiches vs. Bread & Butter Jack can eat the bread & butter because he is connected to Gwendolen and Agly can eat all the cucumber sandwiches because of his relation to Lady B. Pg. 979- Cecily?s comment about starting a new life and the connection to food Reference to the idea of soul food ? wholesome morals, whole meals Muffins Comfort food for Algy Gender Gender swaps At some points, the men are more feminine and the women are more masculine. Women seem to hold all the power Gwendolen makes a comment [pg. 987] that the home is ?the proper sphere for a man? Wilde is suggesting that the woman is REALLY the one in charge of the household, marriage, proposals, etc. It?s like in My Big Fat Greek Wedding where the mom says that ?the man is the head of the house, but the woman is the neck, and she can turn the head whichever way she wants? Power Dynamic Women are demanding things from men, rather than the other way around Sarcasm on pg. 994 by Gwendolen regarding man?s ?Physical courage? UM HELLO! Women know more physical courage and self sacrifice: child birth Decadence: Thread on the Discussion Board for Participation Points
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