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Traces of Wilde: Fact and Fiction in Dorian: An Imitation and The Picture of John Gray

Pulham, Patricia (2019) Traces of Wilde: Fact and Fiction in Dorian: An Imitation and The Picture of John Gray Victoriographies, 9 (3). pp. 298-315.

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The life and art of Oscar Wilde are of enduring interest to contemporary readers and audiences who remain fascinated not only by his work, but also by his biography. The dramatic nature of the three trials that took place in 1895, and Wilde's spectacular fall from grace following imprisonment and exile, speak to our own period in which questions of gender and sexuality are topics of continuing tension and concern. This essay examines two examples of contemporary writing that are informed by Wilde's biography and oeuvre: Will Self's novel, Dorian: An Imitation (2002), and Craig Wilmann's drama, The Picture of John Gray (2014), and offers the first academic analysis of Wilmann's play. Exploring these works through the lens of neo-Victorianism, it considers the balance between history and fiction in each text. Drawing on Ricoeur's treatise The Reality of the Historical Past (1984), it proposes that Ricoeur's concept of the Analogue, which encompasses both the imaginative reconstruction of the past through the documentary trace and the adoption of the critical distance required to understand it, provides a new way in which neo-Victorian literature might be understood.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences > School of Literature and Languages
Authors :
Date : November 2019
DOI : 10.3366/vic.2019.0355
Copyright Disclaimer : © Edinburgh University Press, 2019. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopied, recorded or otherwise without either the prior written permission of the Publisher, or a licence permitting restricted copying issued in the UK by The Copyright Licensing Agency Limited, Saffron House, 6–10 Kirby Street, London EC1N 8TS, UK.
Additional Information :
A Journal of Nineteenth-Century Writing, 1790–1914 seeks to invent afresh the long nineteenth century.

Returning to the text as text, Victoriographies explores, as if for the first time, those canonical texts and authors that seem familiar, and interrogates the understudied, those authors and publications which demand a response. The journal is concerned with writing of the long nineteenth century and writing about the nineteenth century. Victoriographies invites articles which address philosophical, epistemological and ideological concerns, as these are embedded in the surface and texture of the text itself. The emphasis is on Victorian writing, about literary texts, poetry, prose fiction and prose non-fiction in the period 1790–1914.

Depositing User : Diane Maxfield
Date Deposited : 08 Nov 2019 12:34
Last Modified : 08 Nov 2019 12:34

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