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Oscar Wilde

Wilde's Literary Movement
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Aestheticism

Wilde wrote in the literary movement called Aestheticism during the late nineteenth century. Contrary to popular belief, Wilde did not create the literary movement, but played a role as a leader who promoted the movement. While Wilde was a college student the works of Algernon Charles Swinburne and Edgar Allan Poe influenced his own writing style. Also, the English essayist Walter Pater helped to form Wilde's humanistic aesthetics.

Moreover, the philosophical foundations of Aestheticism come from Immanuel Kant. He formulated the idea of "art for art's sake". He believed that art was to be enjoyed for its own beauty regardless of social or moral concerns. Aestheticism was also supported by J. W. von Goethe and Samuel Taylor Coleridge. This new point of view was geared against Victorian conventions in which the arts were supposed to be spiritually uplifting and instructive. Thus, Wilde concluded that his life was even more important than any work that he produced.

Furthermore, Wilde's writing style also touches upon other literary movements. His relativist views on postmodern themes, such as morality and truth portrays him as a postmodernist. Also, his novels contain romantic ideas of human behavior and love. He was very passionate as demonstrated in his attacks against follies of society. However, most prevalent in his style is the degenerate aspects of aestheticism which thus, better defines him as a writer of aestheticism.

Jessica Leu
Coral Gabes Senior High
12th grade IB