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Oscar Wilde and the Radical Politics of the Fin de Siécle$
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Deaglán Ó Donghaile

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781474459433

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2021

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474459433.001.0001

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The Politics of Art and The Picture of Dorian Gray

The Politics of Art and The Picture of Dorian Gray

Chapter:
(p.150) Chapter 5 The Politics of Art and The Picture of Dorian Gray
Source:
Oscar Wilde and the Radical Politics of the Fin de Siécle
Author(s):

Deaglán Ó Donghaile

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9781474459433.003.0006

Wilde’s novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray, serves as a manifesto in which art, politics and subjectivity are discussed in unusual detail. If all art was, as Wilde argued, simply “surface and symbol”, then what could possibly lie underneath? The answer is provided as this dangerous territory is explored through the text’s complex fusion of literary and political ideas. These subversive notions are presented at an early stage, during self-reflexive discussions of the nature of the relationship between art, politics and subjectivity, all of which are represented as resting just beyond the surface of the novel’s ostensible purpose as a work of gothic romance.

Keywords:   Art, Politics, Subjectivity, Society, Aestheticism, Symbolism

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