Publisher description for Oscar Wilde : the works of a conformist rebel / Norbert Kohl ; translated from the German by David Henry Wilson.


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Counter This is the most complete study of Oscar Wilde's work yet undertaken. Its aim is to gain a new understanding of his literary and critical œuvre by fully analysing each of his works on the basis of a textually oriented interpretation, taking equal account of the biographical and intellectual contexts. Professor Kohl's starting-point is the thesis that Wilde's identity - both personal and artistic - can only be adequately described in terms of a conflict between two opposing forces: individualism and convention. This conflict colours not only Wilde's use of Romantic and Victorian images and motifs, but also his modern portrayal of the individual's alienation from society, the loss of transcendent values, the sovereignty of subjectivity and autonomous art, and also his formal experiments with language. This penetrating and highly readable account of Wilde as a 'conformist rebel', published in German in 1980, is now available for the first time in English.

Library of Congress subject headings for this publication: Wilde, Oscar, 1854-1900 Criticism and interpretation