Abstract

Although parallels between Oscar Wilde and C. P. Cavafy have been drawn, the influence of Wilde on Cavafy remains underexplored. The Picture of Dorian Gray offers an iconography that would have suited Cavafy's mind-set given his existential-aesthetic anxieties regarding art and the beauty of youth. As a reader of Wilde's novel, Cavafy modulates his poetic strategies on the Dorian Gray myth in a number of poems featuring young men through, and along with, proxies of likeness. Cavafy's anxiety about aging and vain self-image serve as clues when investigating how the Dorian Gray myth informs the poet's texts. His lyrics are memory capsules of beauty whose temporal decay is similar to photographic (over)development, in the manner of Dorian's portrait. Cavafy explores variations of Wilde's triangulation of the self in the artist, the model, and the artwork, often affected by decay. He amalgamates the desire for homoerotic consummation with narcissistic mirroring. In their attempt to halt aging, his speakers narcissistically assume the form of the youthful males with whom they are infatuated.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-3265
Print ISSN
0738-1727
Pages
pp. 21-43
Launched on MUSE
2012-05-10
Open Access
No
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