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Oscar Wilde: Reading the Life After the Life

From: Biography
Volume 28, Number 3, Summer 2005
pp. 414-432 | 10.1353/bio.2005.0060


Oscar Wilde has repeatedly been subjected to posthumous conscription by scholars, critics, writers, and artists as the exemplary literary, sexual, and national outlaw. This article considers both the Anglo and the American production and reception of these other(ed) Oscars across two performative contexts: contemporary drama, where in the years preceding the centenaries of Wilde's trials and death, several plays were staged which offered a mix of documentary and dramatic reassessments of his life; and recent cinema, where representations include Brian Gilbert's earnest biopic Wilde and Todd Haynes's queerly revisionist Velvet Goldmine. The article concludes with a few observations on Will Self's recent novel Dorian: An Imitation.

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