Abstract

This essay reads Oscar Wilde's Salome and its engagement with the lyric blazon in relation to a range of period representations of Salome. It argues that the blazon--a genre based on the extensive use of decorative language to describe the loved object--provides Wilde with a formal vehicle for negotiating the ethical impasse of poetic ornament and its impossible efforts to embody fully the object of desire. Wilde's text employs the blazon to amplify decorative language's failures even as it cultivates their attendant pleasures, reclaiming as a site of aesthetic and erotic possibility the invisible sphere into which the loved body is cast by the blazon and related modes of poetic embodiment.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1080-6547
Print ISSN
0013-8304
Pages
pp. 297-324
Launched on MUSE
2010-06-06
Open Access
No
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