Wilde: readings

All “readings” pages, such as this one, will provide links to pdf files.  Please download these and store on your computer/tablet for reading, so that you can work offline.  These files have been tested, but it’s possible you will have browser issues–please let me know if you do!

Our first text, after the intro class, is the well-known Wilde biopic.  The film title links to a source for Wilde (1997), starring Stephen Fry as Oscar Wilde.  The movie is currently available through Amazon Instant Streaming or the iTunes Store; I have placed the DVD on reserve at Bizzell.


Here’s a quick narrative tour of our Unit 2 readings.

Our first text is the film Wilde (1998), starring Stephen Fry as Oscar Wilde.   The movie is currently available through Amazon Instant Streaming or the iTunes Store; I have placed the DVD on reserve at Bizzell.  (I have also provided a text of Wilde’s story “The Selfish Giant” (optional; almost the entire story is read out loud during the film, so I’ve provided it as a source…)

Next, a biographical entry on Wilde from the Dictionary of National Biography:  This, to my mind, is the least imperfect choice; it’s not an inspiring read, but it is recent (2012) and has a careful section on the history of Wilde biography.  (I’ve also provided a direct link to the entry  (the DNB is a Bizzell Library subscribed resource), which has links and images:  DNB Wilde online)

Since Wilde is the most quoted and quotable author of the 20th century, perhaps the most quoted since Shakespeare….I’ve also given you a selection from the (not particularly good) Britannica entry to Wilde:  only the quotations!

Next, a brief dossier on Wilde’s image and the American mass media.  The following readings are organized around a famous legal lawsuit that stemmed from the use of Wilde’s image, in the form of photographs by the photographer Napoleon Sarony,  by the Burrow-Giles Lithographic company in an advertising campaign.  Our “Oscar Wilde and the Mass Media” courseblog post  will provide you with a fuller introduction.

Our major reading is Wilde’s famous The Picture of Dorian Gray (in a less famous version, the original magazine text, for those of you who’ve read it before!)  We will be annotating this text using the hypothes.is tool.

Next, a short selection from the trial transcript of Wilde’s libel case against the Marquis of Queensbury, focusing on the prosecution’s attempt to link his writings, in particular Dorian,  to Wilde’s reputation as a “posing … Somdomite [sic]–(click through to one of the most famous documents in Wilde’s career….)

Finally, two articles that explore Wilde and his writings from very different perspectives:  Todorov attempts to place Wilde in the context of fundamental changes in Western society over the past 200 years; Ross considers our contemporary interest in Wilde from a much more personal perspective. Either  Todorov or Ross is required; both are recommended…