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Oscar’s Shadow

Wilde, Homosexuality and Modern Ireland

Eibhear Walshe

Publication Year: 2011

Oscar Wilde was the most famous gay Irishman and Oscar’s Shadow deals with Wilde and his homosexuality within the context of Ireland and of Irish cultural perceptions of his sexuality. The book investigates the questions: What was ‘Oscar’s shadow’, his influence on twentieth and twenty-first century Irish culture and literature? What has Oscar Wilde meant to Ireland from his disgrace in May 1895 up to the present?

Published by: Cork University Press

Title Page, Copyright

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Acknowledgements

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pp. ix-xi

In working on this study for the past ten years or so I have been aided and encouraged in so many ways and I would like to express my thanks to the following people for this support and help: David Norris, Jeff Dudgeon, Tonie Walsh, Katherine O’Donnell, Noreen Doody, Gearoid O’Brien the John Broderick archive in Athlone, Vanessa Carswell, Hugh...

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Preface

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pp. xiii-

Oscar Wilde was the most famous gay Irishman but, as yet, no full-length book has dealt with Wilde and his homosexuality within the context of Ireland and of Irish cultural perceptions of his sexuality. This book investigates the questions: What was ‘Oscar’s shadow’, his influence on twentieth- and twenty-first-century Irish culture and literature? What...

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1. Ireland and the Wilde trials: 1884–1907

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pp. 1-16

What did Ireland make of its most famous gay son, Oscar Wilde? In his book The Wilde Century, Alan Sinfield has argued persuasively that the name, fate and public persona of Wilde formed the central twentieth-century cultural concept of the ‘homosexual’ in Britain. This book examines the representations of the figure of Oscar Wilde, his life, his...

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2. Nationalising Wilde: 1900–1928

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pp. 17-30

The years after Wilde’s death in 1900 and up to the foundation and consolidation of the new Irish state in the late 1920s constituted a period of intense debate over political self-definition in Ireland, as outlined, for example, by Lucy McDiarmid in her study The Irish Art of Controversy. I argue in this chapter that Wilde’s reputation and the contestation of his...

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3. Wilde in the new Irish state: 1930–1960

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pp. 31-54

In this chapter, I trace Wilde’s presence within the emergent Irish state at a crucial time of a cultural programme of self-invention and nation building. Ireland had achieved political autonomy in 1922 and what was being gradually constructed in the late 1920s and into the 1930s was an official or state version of the idea of ‘Irishness’. This national identity...

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4. The mac Líammóir revolution: 1960–1970

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pp. 55-68

In this chapter, I argue that the most important figure for the transformation of Wilde’s reputation in Ireland was actor and dramatist Micheál mac Líammóir (1899–1978). Mac Líammóir was born Alfred Willmore in London in 1899 but gaelicised his name and reinvented himself as an Irishman. In the late 1920s he moved to Dublin, setting up his Gate...

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5. Reinventing Wilde the Irishman: 1960–2000

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pp. 69-88

Ireland experienced radical economic, legal and social change during the last half of the twentieth century and into the twenty-first century and so the name of Oscar Wilde was refashioned to suggest or even invent a more inclusive sense of Irishness. In an unproblematic way, his name was gradually re-appropriated by contemporary writers and...

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6. Imagining Wilde the Irishman: 1980–2000

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pp. 89-102

The last years of the twentieth century saw a remaking of the ways in which Ireland defined itself as a newly wealthy Europeanised liberal society and, for writers, this led to an expansion of the acceptable areas for mainstream creativity and new imaginative territories reflecting this social and cultural change. Fintan O’Toole writes: ‘In the last decade of the...

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7. Wilde in the twenty-first century: 2000–2010

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pp. 103-121

At the beginning of this decade, in the centenary year of Wilde’s death in December 2000, President Mary MacAleese visited a centenary exhibition about Wilde in the British Library. The Irish Times noted that her speech was ‘reflecting on a “hesitancy” of ownership of Wilde in Ireland and Britain. With a refreshing honesty, Mrs MacAleese said that on the...

Notes and references

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pp. 123-136

Bibliography

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pp. 137-142

Index

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pp. 143-149


E-ISBN-13: 9781908634184
E-ISBN-10: 1908634189
Print-ISBN-13: 9781859184837
Print-ISBN-10: 1859184839

Publication Year: 2011

Edition: 1

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