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Notes INTRODUCTION 1. Most recently, Robert Scholes, Paul Fortunato, and Ronald Bush have stressed Wilde’s importance for modernist aesthetics. 2. To name just a few examples, Heather Marcovitch claims that Salomé extends Wilde’s problematization of aestheticism that Wilde began in The Picture of Dorian Gray; Helen Tookey emphasizes the play’s championing of the decadent femme fatale and her dangerous gaze, while Sarah Maier and Amanda Fernbach offer psychoanalytic approaches stressing the ambiguous fetishization of Salomé in symbolist and decadent literature. Charles Bernheimer, too, places Salomé ‹rmly within decadent ‹n de siècle literature without commenting on its modernist elements. Previous scholarly studies also emphasized Salomé’s alleged plagiarism or literary and cultural sampling, a critical tradition that had its ‹rst in›uential proponent in Mario Praz’s The Romantic Agony. Norbert Kohl, by contrast, defends Wilde’s grafting method as a serious artistic enterprise, arguing that it showed a high degree of sophistication and creativity. 3. According to Wilde’s biographer Richard Ellmann, Wilde knew well the intriguing visual iconography of Salome from the Renaissance to his own present, which—except for Moreau’s depictions—left him dissatis‹ed (Oscar Wilde 342–43). 4. The European ‹n de siècle literary and artistic movements called “symbolism” and “decadence” are notoriously dif‹cult to delineate, since they share numerous literary and philosophical concerns with each other as well as with British aestheticism, as exempli‹ed by Walter Pater, Wilde, and Arthur Symons. Rather than use aestheticism as an umbrella term to describe the style of Wilde’s Salomé, which includes elements speci‹c to symbolism and decadence, I employ symbolism to refer to the play’s linguistic-poetic style and decadence to refer to particular content and themes. Symbolism emphasized synesthesia and evocation and participated in the reaction against the crisis of representation by stressing immaterial worlds over realistic description. Where I speak of Salomé’s decadent content and themes, I mean to indicate the work’s alignment with ‹n de siècle literature and art that thrive on a sense of cultural and 203 moral decay as well as with the post-Romantic indulgence in sensory stimulation, on the one hand, and deadening ennui, on the other, as celebrated in Joris-Karl Huysmans ’s À rebours (1884) and scathingly derided in Max Nordau’s Degeneration (1892). 5. Ian Small, Melissa Knox, and Bruce Bashford give excellent overviews of recent Wilde scholarship trends. 6. The two principal etymological connotations of transgression, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, are “1. a. The action of transgressing or passing beyond the bounds of legality or right; a violation of law, duty, or command; disobedience, trespass , sin” and “1. b. The action of passing over or beyond. (Only as the etymological sense of the word).” See Oxford English Dictionary Online, s.v. “Transgression,” (accessed October 23, 2009). 7. Philosophical approaches to Salomé hold great promise, notes Philip Smith (163–64). CHAPTER 1 1. Already in Flavius Josephus, the story of John the Baptist’s beheading was presented as a political power struggle between John and Herod, although it did not involve Herodias. Josephus claimed that Herod was fearful of the Baptist’s power to incite to rebellion the people of Galilee, a known seat of Jewish resistance to Rome. Neither Jew nor Roman, Herod found himself in a precarious position. John’s open condemnation of Herod’s unlawful marriage further endangered his grip on power. Herod had eloped with Herodias while she was still married to his brother Philippus. Mosaic law regards sexual contact with a brother’s wife as incestuous (Leviticus 20:21, 18:16). 2. According to Anthony Pym, the number of treatments of the Salome theme in literature and the arts increased sharply between the middle of the nineteenth century and the 1880s–1890s. 3. Julie Townsend makes the same point in “Staking Salomé” (156–57). 4. Hugo Daffner, Helen Grace Zagona, Patricia R. Kellogg, Bram Dijkstra, Françoise Meltzer, and Linda Saladin provide useful analytical overviews of Wilde’s major nineteenth-century predecessors. I am indebted to them in this chapter, even as I point to some of their shortcomings. 5. Three fragments of “Hérodiade” survive, of which only “Scène: La Nourrice— Hérodiade” was published during Mallarmé’s lifetime, ‹rst in 1869 in the Parnasse Contemporain (1869), in edited form in Le Scapin (1886), and then again in the 1887 edition of Mallarmé’s Poésies. Other fragments of the work were...


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