Wilde's Intentions: The Artist in His Criticism


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), 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 and assesses their achievement. He sets Wilde's criticism in context, showing how the son of an Irish patriot sought to create a new ideal of English culture by elevating "lies" above history, leveling the distinction between artist and critic, and ending the sway of "nature"u over liberated human desire.

Additional information

Publisher: Place of publication:
  • Oxford
Publication year:
  • 1998


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