Oscar Wilde's Presence Today

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Oscar Wilde's Presence Today

Post by tbieter » Sun Sep 28, 2014 10:43 pm

"Wilde and Morality

Peter Benson deconstructs the moral intrigues of Dorian Gray.

“The good ended happily, and the bad unhappily. That is what Fiction means.”
Miss Prism in The Importance of Being Earnest

One of the most famous and most frequently quoted statements about the moral responsibility of artists can be found in Oscar Wilde ’s preface to his novel The Picture of Dorian Gray. “There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book,” writes Wilde, “Books are well written or badly written. That is all.” His claim is that works of art are legitimate objects of aesthetic judgement, but not of moral judgement.

Wilde added this preface when the novel was reprinted a year after its initial publication in a literary magazine. The preface was Wilde’s considered response to various reviewers who had found his book to be immoral. The extent of this antagonism should not be exaggerated. Only a few reviewers had condemned the novel in these terms, and there was never any serious campaign for it to be banned."

I consider my electronic subscription to PhilosophyNow to to be amazingly valuable as a resource. For example:

Recently, I arrived quite early for a medical appointment. As I was checking in, I apologized for being so early and mentioned that I had brought my Kindle so that I could read. The young woman mentioned that she had a masters degree in English literature and, in due course, she recommended that I read The Picture of Dorian Gray.

I promptly read Dorian Gray and followed it up with watching the movie starring Angela Lansbury and George Sanders. The movie is faithful to the book.

As I frequently do, this morning I went to PhilosophyNow to see if there was anything on Oscar Wilde. I was delighted and enjoyed reading the article quoted above.

Finally, tonight I'll start reading Joseph Pearce's biography of Wilde.

All members of this forum should have an electronic subscription to the magazine. Its a great buy for the price.

http://www.amazon.com/Picture-Dorian-Gr ... orian+gray

http://www.amazon.com/Unmasking-Oscar-W ... arce+books

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