Performing masculinity
Wilde’s Art
in Victorian demons
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This chapter outlines a series of important stances on Oscar Wilde drawn from a range of relevant critics, before giving a close reading of De Profundis, The Ballad of Reading Gaol, and Dorian Gray. David Punter mentions that Dorian Gray shares a Gothic context concerning theories of degeneration which includes Robert Louis Stevenson's Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, H.G. Wells's The Island of Dr Moreau and Bram Stoker's Dracula. The chapter discusses Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick's arguments about how Wilde relates to Christian notions of the body as fetish. It examines her response to sexological claims as it helps to position Wilde in relation to such theories and also to move him beyond them. Wilde provides an alternative way of challenging models of masculinity, one which draws attention to the provisional nature of masculinity by associating it (like Camp) with an unreal performance.

Victorian demons

Medicine, masculinity and the Gothic at the fin de siecle

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