Dialogue and Leisure at the Fin de Siècle

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Abstract

Through both their arguments and their form, Oscar Wilde's quasi-Socratic dialogues, The Decay of Lying and The Critic as Artist, articulate a conscious anti-work ethic, an ideology of leisure. The historical roots of this discourse extend through the nineteenth century in complicated ways, connecting with the institutional history of Oxford, the poetics of dialogue form itself, the cultural implications of Victorian homosexuality, and the contradictions of British capitalism in its imperial moment. These fastidiously playful texts therefore enable us to explore the importance of being idle, amateurish and unproductive.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)134-156
Number of pages23
JournalCambridge Quarterly
Volume42
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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