Non-Fiction Books:

Oscar Wilde's Profession

Writing and the Culture Industry in the Late Nineteenth Century



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Oscar Wilde's Profession by Josephine M Guy
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A materialist account of Wilde's career as a writer, Oscar Wilde's Profession contests three widely held assumptions about his success: that there is a clear distinction between his life as a journalist and his artistic celebrity; that he was an aesthetic 'purist' in his attitude towards his own books; and that his career was driven by an oppositional sexual or nationalist politics. The authors bring together evidence from the publishing trade, from Wilde's contracts and correspondence with publishers, and from documentation about his earnings (particularly the plays) to show that he always worked for money, but that he achieved far less financial success than is usually thought. Far from subverting the nascent consumerism of his time, he was thoroughly immersed in its values-in the commodification of culture in which books became product. At the same time, Oscar Wilde's Profession provides a uniquely detailed account of Wilde's processes of composition, springing from the re-examination of his writing practice currently being undertaken in the Oxford English Texts edition of his complete work: it surveys his writing practices across the whole of the oeuvre, and radically reinterprets the significance of his revision and 'plagiarism'.
Release date NZ
December 23rd, 2000
Country of Publication
United Kingdom
Oxford University Press
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