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The Decadent ImageThe Poetry of Wilde, Symons, and Dowson$
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Kostas Boyiopoulos

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780748690923

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748690923.001.0001

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‘That love-enraptured tune’

‘That love-enraptured tune’

Eros and Art(ifice)

(p.27) Chapter 2 ‘That love-enraptured tune’
The Decadent Image

Kostas Boyiopoulos

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter enquires into a selection of poems by Oscar Wilde, examining ways by which eros is inscribed in the decorative surface of poetry. It highlights Wilde’s borrowed idea of ‘impossible eros’ (‘l’amour de l’impossible’). Tinkering with the juxtaposition of permanence and transitoriness in descriptions of seasonal and natural beauty, Wilde frames death as taking place within a larger framework of a perpetual recycling of life. Within this framework, demonstrated by his poem ‘Panthea’ (1881), he accommodates a diffused and impersonal sensuality. The chapter then examines the ephemeral, impressionistic artificiality mostly of Wilde’s city lyrics. In the last section, the ideas explored in ‘Panthea’ inform ‘The Harlot’s House’ (1884).

Keywords:   Oscar Wilde, artificiality, Beauty, ‘Panthea’, impossible eros, ‘The Harlot’s House’, eroticism, ephemerality

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