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by: Amanda White


Marketplace > Ohio State University > Foreign Language > 2202 > ENGLISH 2202 LECTURE NOTES WEEK 9
Amanda White
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These are lecture notes from week 9 (Tuesday 3/8 and Thursday 3/10) from British Literature Lecture (English 2202). They cover notes and texts about Oscar Wilde as well as the important terms post...
British Literature 1800-Present
Dr. Jill Galvan
Class Notes
ENG 2202, british literature




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This 12 page Class Notes was uploaded by Amanda White on Monday March 14, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to 2202 at Ohio State University taught by Dr. Jill Galvan in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 93 views. For similar materials see British Literature 1800-Present in Foreign Language at Ohio State University.




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Date Created: 03/14/16
WEEK 9: TUESDAY MARCH 8 IMPORTANT WORDS 1. DANDY 2. ART FOR ART’S SAKE 3. PHILISTINE OSCAR WILDE: -comedic, humor, wit, scandalous trials, homosexuality -primary figures of late Victorian period (last decade, 1890s) -convicted of “homosexuality” or “gross indecency” -very strong views about art and about what art should do (principles) and how one should think about art **aesthetic issues!! -related to issue or ideas of beauty (beauty in art) -aesthetics: philosophy or principles about art and beauty *”The Aesthetes”-movement of “aestheticism” -late Victorian school of thought about art and beauty -Great esteem for art -wants to answer questions about art: what is the purpose of art, what determines good from bad art, what are the standards by which art should be judged, how do we view art **Wilde did not like Wordsworth/interest in nature -views very different: takes idea of art in a new direction (today it is very modern) **AVANT GARDE figure: -ideas ahead of their time, push to the future -ideas of art (experimental, new, innovative, unconventional) *A transition figure between Victorian 19thc and modern 20 c.h -he is leaving the past behind, does this by being opposed to dominant Victorian ways -rejects Victorian society, morals, values -opposed: -Christian -hardworking/focused on middle class success (work ethic, capitalist) -focused on self improvement (being ones best self socially and morally) -self questioning, how can he improve himself and be a better person -ideal woman/angel in the house **Victorians were very EARNEST (took life seriously, morally, socially, economically, acting well, etc.) **WILDE HATES EARNESTNESS!!!!! -ICONOCLAST: takes sacred, moral, social beliefs (like worshiped icons) and makes fun of them or undermines them aggressively -ex. Makes fun of the middle class, shocks them---epater le bourgeois (to shock the middle class person---his goal!) -french influence, more risqué, opposed to chrisian moral standard, history of revolution, like to shake things up--- catholocism is focus, not protestant IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST -ironic title -thinks it silly to be earnest -wit, humor, thinks Christianity is silly -capitalist values are crass and vulgar and ignores ***art: the real important thing in life!! -dichotomy -avant-garde idea -art as opposed to the capitalist market place -best seller vs. a classic (block buster vs indie film) *Art in the market place more prominent -inside jokes pg. 930: “I’m sure the program will be delightful…..” -expergations, censoring, French songs aren’t allowed -worse to laugh at these things, too risqué DECAY OF LYING (PG. 923) -2 speakers: Cyril and Vivian -wilde voice opinions about art -form of a dialogue with characters-conversation covered wildes opinions, Vivian is telling Wilde’s ideas -Main point: -Wilde’s immense distaste for realism -realsim as artistic *Realism: type of art that depicts the real world faithfully, imitates life -popular mode in Victorian period (ex. Gaskell) -became even more intense by end of century -more frank and bitter -ex. “Tess of the Durbervilles”-look at the fallen woman, depressing, follows realistic stigma of a woman who has sex out of marriage -ex. Zola, wrote about social conditions, poverty, starvation, dirtiness -Wilde hates realism! -Cyril: “tell me the docrines….” -Vivian: -art never expresses anything but itself -develops purly on its own lines -does not have to represent the historical moment -all bad art comes from elevating life and nature into ideals -bad arts imitate life or nature, must be translated into conventions *do something special, don’t just be plain and real, be imaginative -don’t surrender imagination for realism -only beauty comes from things that do not concern us -“decay of lying” -realism: truth telling -Vivian/Wilde is dismayed that by contrast lying (non realism) has fallen out of favor -lying: works the imagination, romance too---falling out of favor -wilde wrote fairy tales, gothic, flights of fancy -Wilde: disparages realism, but he also thinks art is superior to life!!!! -thinks life can and should imitate art -life should be lived artistically, emphasize beauty -saying nature and life is inspired by art???? -feels like life should be lived artistically, decorative *women and men should cultivate their appearance to be physically satisfying to others, artistic (ex. 938-wants a flower) DANDY: (ALGENON AND WILDE, himself) -A Man who is unusually or excessively concerned with physical appearance -ex. Algenon, “ -efeminicy: feminne quality of man, issues of sexuality (wilde=homo) -connotation of dandy is being feminie, and homosexual *Realism is so distasteful to Wilde -rejection of earnestness, and didactic literature/art (or trying to teach something, morality) -teach the lesson: Wilde resisted this ART FOR ART’S SAKE (Wilde, “picture of dorain gray”) **His idea: art should not have to have any moral or social purpose -only exist for its own sake! -belief by the Aestetes -a work of art should not have to have some social or moral purpose or a lesson -should just be aesthetic -does not mean it cannot have a meaning, just not a purposeful meaning -what is art for: to be beautiful or pleasurable or stimulating to viewer/reader -pleaseure to sense and stimulates thought (but not didactically) -art should be “amoral”-outside category of moral or immoral, not typical -can’t be judged at all by morality -resists realist art because it’s ugly, not beautiful at all!, teaches things -frivolous, just fun and to be looked at and enjoyed PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY: PREFACE -Preface came about because Wilde published this novel in 1890 and had hints of homosexuality/homoeroticism -painter of dorian gray is attracted to dorian gray -victorian audiences were shocked!! -Wilde revised novel: -toned down homoeroticism -added the preface -preface was a “screw you” to reader -he is going to tell reader what he thinks art should do -he is excusing anyone from finding immoral meaning -tells them they are not reading his “art” in the right way -art for art’s sake! Does not have a meaning or social purpose -“artist is creator of beautiful things” -“corrupt: if find ugly things in beautiful works”—that’s your own fault! -books are well written or badly written, not trying to prove something -nonsensical wording -artists don’t try to prove anything, have ethical sympathies -it’s ok if people make things useful, but can’t admire them *art should be useless!! No social or moral value -artistic appreciation is not something everyone can do, have to be really cultivated and know how to -art criticism: an elite activity, not all understand how to critique art -Average Victorian (to wilde) can’t interpret art correctly---- they are a PHILISTINE: (Wilde, preface) *someone who is ignorant about or indifferent to art, beauty, high culture -someone who is unappreciatinve=average middle calss Victorian (vulgar) -a patronizing term -Wilde emphasizes that agerage Victorian is crass and materialistic and earnest and moral, nationalistic -the artist and critic are both special: can make and translate new material, the critic is himself, almost a wordsmith, can translate into new impression -those who find beauty are cultivated, they have hope, beauty is only beauty -Wilde: shocks bourgeoise, he misuses “elet” to be the real people who actually get art, not your typical middle class person -strong anti realist philosophy - WEEK 9: THURSDAY MARCH 10 VOCABULARY WORDS 1. SATIRE 2. MARRIAGE PLOT 3. LABONCHERE AMENDMENT PREFACE: PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY -19 century antirealism -“Caliban”-tempest, Shakespeare—reference (a mirror) th-monsterous figure (Dorian becomes monsterous) -19 cen. Victorians dislike of realism is like Caliban seeing his own face in a glass, but Victorians really liked realism -part of them still egotistical and narcisticic and like representations of life, but turned off by ugly monstrosity (torn!)— want realism, but don’t want it to be ugly?? (ironic) th -19 century dislike of romanticism -like Caliban NOT seeing his face in a glass -“romance”—flight of fancy, opposite of realism -average Victorians don’t like romance: they don’t want to see own, ugly realism, but also don’t like romance because they are narcisticic -not gratified with own self image: mocks Victorians **paradox: they love realism, but not their own (contradictory, both things are true, but taken together they contradict each other) **Wilde loves paradoxes! -Anti realism: goes along with strong distincition between form/style/manner vs. content/message/meaning/matter (manner vs. matter) ex: a painting’ manner: sensory elements, brush strokes, colors, shapes, outlines matter: content, message, what the work means, what’s it saying *Wilde priviledged MANNER!!! (Victorians to focused on message and not valuing art for arts sake) -pg. 924 “Surface vs. symbol”: art should be beautiful, pleaseurable, most important! -surface: form only, like in abstract/modern art **don’t overlook the surface just to find the symbol, good art does not make the symbol simple! (realism: 1 meaning, represent real depth)---objective -look for subjectivity, but focus on beauty first! -everyone can try to figure out symbol, but if you are totally intent on figuring it out then they are not approaching art well -“diversity of opinion” -work is new, complex, vital, different responses: good art! -“art mirrors spectator, not life” -don’t take art too seriously, if you find an immoral meaning in something, then it is on you, you are imposing your own moral on a picture -act like their sense is the only one *art should be amoral, not judged **transcript of the trial: -on trial for being gay (gross indecency) -literature used as a weapon against Wilde -scandalous -for wilde its either good or bad, not moral or immoral **is art always separate from morality? IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST -an absurd, unrealistic play -Jack leaves her manuscript where baby is supposed to be -Cecily and Gwendolyn: never think these people would meet and fall inlove immediately, already charted their romance in her diary before it even happened! (relation with A) -absurd fun, antirealism, farce!! (nonsensical) -not supposed to have a deeper meaning, just for pleasure -comedy!! -associateion with wit -can be difficult to “act”, need to be light **3 main types of comedy: 1. Ridiculousness/absurdity/nonsense a. A defying of logic and realism 2. Irony a. Different from coincidence b. An opposition or incongruity between 2 things, a reversal c. Ex. Went to work, expect to get a raise, but get fired (opposite) d. Opposite of your expectation e. Ex. Sarcasm is extreme irony (miss buss, “oh that’s wonderful” f. Can relate to paradox! i. Dissects irony g. Irony in title/subtitle: Importance of being honest, a trivial comedy for serious people! (how can you have a trivial comedy for serious?) i. Earnestness/comedy=opposites ii. A pun: earnest/ernest=only time to be earnest is when Jack and Algenon are christened=ernest! (becoming the Ernest) 3. **SATIRE: -literary, artistic mode or style in which a subject is represented contemptuously and critically through humor -thing criticized is usually some aspect of human nature or society or culture -desire to shine a light through humor to foolishness or vice -point something wrong through humor -fault of individual or institution pointed out by making it seem ridiculous -a mode of criticism where humor is used as a weapon (ex. Colbert, John Oliver) -snl, family guy criticize some new cultural phenomenon **In play: -the idle rich (all characters are aristocrats, don’t work) -Good Victorian excluded aristocracy -Jack and Algenon: go off to town to have fun, Jack has responsibilities with Cecely, Algenon pretends to have responsibility -escape responsibility to go have fun -931: satirizes the rich -expect to act certain questions, but asks if man smokes? -says his occupation is smoking (aristocrat) -Irony: expect Lady B. to condem It but she praises it -934: hard work to do nothing -Wilde is not aristocratic, but he styled himself as upperclass -Aesthetes: more identified with aristocracy/elite -Wilde’s play is self-mocking (does not even take self seriously) **Dandy: an aristocrat, who can afford fabric, hair style, servants -Algenon is a dandy, wants a flower -Cecely hopes his hair curls naturally (934), but it does with help -idle rich: aristocrats fritter away their wealth (gamble, travel, eat) -associated with going bankrupt, waste all their money **subtle satire on marriage: -shocking to middle class becase marriage was for morality and society -a moral instituton, separate spheres, nuclear family -marriage satirized=satirize middle class life and beliefs **makes fun of MARRIAGE PLOT/COURTSHIP PLOT -a literary plot that revolves around the plot of marriage of 2 characters through courtship. Entails trials, reversals, problems they must get past. Finally the plot culimates in marriage or expectation of marriage:::all romantic comedies!!!! -get to true love and marriage, but must go through obsticles to get to happy ending -Wilde makes marriage plot absurd -cecely and gwen want to marry men they just met -recorded “pretend” events/trials in her diary **makes fun of Romantic Comedy, targeted to females (chick flick, chick lit) -women: dominant shoppers and consumers in capitalist society -like to consume frivolous romantic material (preplot of life in their head) -pattern their life on how they want it to be, find men to fit into their plot **the novel at this time: was a lower class, women, pleasure form, not highly regarded (like the Coquette) -pg. 936:women familiar with novel reading, read things and want that life -a gender critique and a high art critique of low art (women do not qualify to understand high art) women worthy only of low art, novels -Play satirizes marriage as absurd, preconception, but also to show it not as a moral foundation, but social and economic (Lady B. quizzing Jack, he does not have a good family name…no family name because he lost both parents) -pg. 951 makes remarks on thngs he owns _lady B’s marriage bad : getting out of marriage is good, take down marriage as an institution -pg. 926: talks about divorce -Wilde jabs against marriage: *heterosexual coupling -Wilde: falls inlove with a man (Douglas)-D’s dad got wind of it and did not approve, he went to wildes hotel and puts a note calling Wilde a “sodomite” but put “somdomite”-misspelled, resulted in 3 trials of Oscar Wilde 1. Wilde sues Douglass’ father for misprint (calling him gay) a. Wilde was gay though, but takes it to court b. Trial found that wilde was gay c. **sued by LABONCHERE AMENDMENT (1885)—10 yrs prior i. law that outlawed sodomy/male male sex d. Wilde lost trial in civil suit, but brought him up for a criminal trial, suing wilde because he is gay: results in humjury (can’t decide) e. Were able to re-try unlike today, Wilde found guilty f. Convicted to 2 years hard labor (went to prison) g. Was a glittering aesthete, lived dandy life, now reduced to prison…it broke Wilde/lost spirit, bosie/douglass turned against him and Wilde died later **Algenon’s/Jack’s habit of inventing an alternate identity to escape their life -“Bunbury”-fictional persona -Double life: read as a metaphor for the “closet”—double life of gay man -has family obligations but escapes into fun/doubleness *Critique marriage and heterosexual values *”Bunbury”==male/male sex (bury in buns)—euphamism *


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