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This book explores Wilde's works from the hypothesis that they call upon the active participation of the reader in the production of meaning. It has a twofold objective: first, it shows that Wilde's emphasis on the creative role of the audience in his critical writings makes him conceive the reader as a co-creator in the construction of meaning. Second, it analyses the strategies which Wilde employs to impel the reader to collaborate in the creation of meaning of his literary works and casts light upon the social criticism derived from these.
The examination of Wilde s writings reveals how he gradually combined more sophisticated techniques that encouraged the reader's dynamic role with the progressive exploitation of self-advertising strategies for professional purposes. These allowed the commercial Oscar to make his works successful among the Victorian public without betraying the literary Wilde s aesthetic principles.
The present study re-evaluates Wilde as a critic and as a writer. It demonstrates that, while Wilde the myth was ahead of his time in many ways, Wilde the ARTIST anticipated in his aesthetic theory various themes which occupy contemporary literary theoreticians. Thus, it may contribute to give him the status he rightly deserves in the history of literature.


Textprobe: Chapter 3., THE PROCESS OF BUILDING AND BREAKING THE READER S EXPECTATIONS IN LORD ARTHUR SAVILE S CRIME AND OTHER STORIES: In 1887, Wilde published four short stories: Lord Arthur Savile's Crime: A Study of Cheiromancy and The Canterville Ghost: A Hylo-Idealistic Romance appeared in Court and Society Review; Lady Alroy and The Model Millionaire: A Note of Admiration were printed in The World. These stories were later collected together and published in a volume under the title Lord Arthur Savile's Crime and Other Stories in 1891. In this book Wilde altered the original subtitle of Lord Arthur Savile s Crime from A Study of Cheiromancy , which indicated that story dealt with the fashionable theme of occult matters, to A Study of Duty , which emphasised the subject-matter of the story. He also changed the title of the short story Lady Alroy to The Sphinx Without a Secret: An Etching , drawing thus the reader's attention to the enigmatic nature of the story. One characteristic in common among these four stories is that they were written in forms that were very popular at the time and contained topics which fascinated the Victorian audience. Wilde's journalistic experience had made him well aware of all those literary elements which attracted the attention of the reading public and he managed to introduce them in his first narrative works while transforming them so as to convey his own ideas about the Victorian world: In Lord Arthur Savile's Crime Wilde incorporated cheiromancy as the plot situation. By that time voyeurs had become habitual at London society receptions and there was a vogue among the members of the upper classes for joining occult societies. Wilde could have scarcely missed the enthusiasm of Victorian society for occult subjects, and he could have imagined that a combination of cheiromancy, glamorous society settings and aristocratic characters could not fail to attract numerous readers. Moreover Wilde, who had been introduced to cheiromancy by one of his acquaintances the chiromantist Edward Heron-Allen , developed himself an increasing interest in this matter that was probably a determinant factor in his decision to convert cheiromancy into the central element of the plot of this short story. Similarly to Lord Arthur Savile's Crime , Wilde wrote The Canterville Ghost bearing in mind the tastes of the Victorian reading public. The enormous fascination that that the Victorians felt towards supernatural matters as well as the considerable influence of Gothic fiction had contributed to the proliferation of ghost stories during the second half of the nineteenth century, and Wilde knew the Victorian magazine market well enough to expect that this would provide him with a receptive audience for his short story. As regards The Sphinx Without a Secret: An Etching and The Model Millionaire: A Note of Admiration , they are very brief magazine pieces which are written in the manner of the feuilleton. The feuilleton stories were short fictional elaborations characterised by their intriguing suspense that had become highly popular in the magazines of the time, and this ensured Wilde that his stories would provoke the immediate attraction of the public to them. Consequently, it is not surprising to find that Lord Arthur Savile's Crime and Other Stories was generally received in favourable terms: the reviewer of the Graphic considered it to be worth all Mr. Wilde's serious work put together (CH, 107); and when W. B. Yeats reviewed for the United Ireland, he commented that it disappointed him a little (CH, 111) but praised it arguing that it was an extravagant Celtic crusade against Anglo-Saxon stupidity (CH, 111). Another characteristic that these short stories have in common is that all of them are oral in origin. As I have said in a previous chapter of this study, Wilde became famous among the members of Victorian society circles for his gift for conversation. He was a born ra


Auteur Cristina Pascual Aransáez



GTIN 9783954893133

Taal Engels

Pagina-aantallen 372

Product type Paperback

Maat 220 x 155 x 22  mm

Gewicht van product 602 g

The importance of being a reader: A revision of Oscar Wilde's work

Cristina Pascual Aransáez

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Bezorgdatum: tussen maandag, 20. juli en woensdag, 22. juli

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