A Supplement to Oscar Wilde Revalued.
Oscar Wilde Revalued, published by ELT Press in 1993, earned praise from Wilde scholars in the USA and Europe. Now, at the centenary of Wilde’s death, Professor Small’s 1993 book is succeeded by a completely new work, one that will also become essential for students of Wilde.
Oscar Wilde: Recent Research updates and reconceptualises the bibliographic objectives of the earlier volume, and surveys research on Wilde from 1992 to 2000, but in a much more explicitly evaluative manner.
The opening chapter, ‘Wilde in the 1990s’, traces the main directions of Wilde research over the past decade. Critical material is then reviewed under three broad categories. The first, ‘Biography’, is concerned with the continuing fascination with Wilde’s life, and its emphasis on how critics have moved on from dissatisfaction with Richard Ellmann’s Oscar Wilde (1987).
‘Recent Critical Paradigms’ evaluates research channelled through master-narratives that have emerged in the 1990s, ways of describing Wilde’s work: the ‘gay’ Wilde, the ‘Irish’ Wilde, and ‘Wilde and Consumerism’. ‘Wilde the Writer’, the third category, centres on an important trend in research during the last decade, what might be thought the less glamorous aspects of the oeuvre – from the seriousness with which Wilde took his role as a poet, to the sheer amount of time he devoted to writing journalism, to the complexities of the production and staging of his plays.
Oscar Wilde: Recent Research also contains sections devoted to sources and intertexts, to thematic studies, to essay collections, and to critical monographs which take Wilde as their sole subject. The book includes information about new research resources, and about manuscript discoveries and letters. It concludes with an extensive bibliography organised alphabetically and in terms of Wilde’s works, and an index of critics.
IAN SMALL has a personal chair in English literature at the University of Birmingham. He has written widely on a variety of literary figures and topics in the 1880-1920 era. He is co-general editor of the Oxford English Texts edition of The Complete Works of Oscar Wilde. Among his many publications are Oscar Wilde’s Profession: Writing and the Culture Industry in the Late Nineteenth Century (with Josephine M.Guy, OUP, 2000); Oscar Wilde Revalued (ELT Press, 1993); Politics and Value in English Studies: A Discipline in Crisis? (with Jacqueline M.Guy, CUP, 1993), and Conditions for Criticism (OUP, 1991).
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