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The Decay of Lying And Other Essays

Author : Oscar Wilde
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In 'The Decay of Lying' Oscar Wilde uses his decadent ideology in an attempt to reverse and therefore reject his audiences' 'normal' conceptualizations of nature, art and morality. Wilde's views of life and art are illustrated through the use of Platonic dialogue where the character Vivian takes on the persona of Wilde. Wilde's goal is to subvert the norm by reversing its values. Wilde suggests to us that society is wrong, not him. Calling on diverse examples - from Ancient Greek sculpture to contemporary paintings - Oscar Wilde's brilliant essay creates a witty, paradoxical world in which the only Art worth loving is that built on complete untruths.

The Decay of Lying

Author : Oscar Wilde
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The Decay of Lying: An Observation By Oscar Wilde "The Decay of Lying - An Observation" is an essay by Oscar Wilde included in his collection of essays titled Intentions, published in 1891. This is a significantly revised version of the article that first appeared in the January 1889 issue of The Nineteenth Century.Wilde presents the essay in a Socratic dialogue between with Vivian and Cyril, two characters named after his own sons. Their conversation, though playful and whimsical, promotes Wilde's view of Romanticism over Realism. Vivian tells Cyril of an article he has been writing called "The Decay Of Lying: A Protest". According to Vivian, the decay of Lying "as an art, a science, and a social pleasure" is responsible for the decline of modern literature, which is excessively concerned with the representation of facts and social reality. He writes, "if something cannot be done to check, or at least to modify, our monstrous worship of facts, Art will become sterile and beauty will pass away from the land." Moreover, Vivian defends the idea that Life imitates Art far more than vice versa. Nature, he argues, is no less an imitation of Art than Life. Vivian also contends that Art is never representative of a time or place: rather, "the highest art rejects the burden of the human spirit [...] She develops purely on her own lines. She is not symbolic of any age." Vivian thus defends Aestheticism and the concept of "art for art's sake". At Cyril's behest, Vivian briefly summarizes the doctrines of the "new aesthetics" in the following terms: Art never expresses anything but itself.All bad art comes from returning to Life and Nature, and elevating them into ideals.Life imitates Art far more than Art imitates Life. It follows as a corollary that external Nature also imitates Art.Lying, the telling of beautiful untrue things, is the proper aim of Art.The essay ends with the two characters going outside, as Cyril asked Vivian to do at the beginning of the essay. Vivian finally complies, saying that twilight nature's "chief use" may be to "illustrate quotations from the poets."As Michèle Mendelssohn points out, "in an era when sociology was still in its infancy, psychology wasn't yet a discipline, and theories of performativity were still a long way off, Wilde's essay touched on a profound truth about human behaviour in social situations. The laws of etiquette governing polite society were, in fact, a mask. Tact was merely an elaborate art of impression management."


Author : Oscar Wilde
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Originally published in 1891 when Wilde was at the height of his form, these brilliant essays on art, literature, criticism, and society display the flamboyant poseur's famous wit and wide learning. A leading spokesman for the English Aesthetic movement, Wilde promoted "art for art's sake" against critics who argued that art must serve a moral purpose. On every page of this collection the gifted literary stylist admirably demonstrates not only that the characteristics of art are "distinction, charm, beauty, and imaginative power," but also that criticism itself can be raised to an art form possessing these very qualities. In the opening essay, Wilde laments the "decay of Lying as an art, a science, and a social pleasure." He takes to task modern literary realists like Henry James and Emile Zola for their "monstrous worship of facts" and stifling of the imagination. What makes art wonderful, he says, is that it is "absolutely indifferent to fact, [art] invents, imagines, dreams, and keeps between herself and reality the impenetrable barrier of beautiful style, of decorative or ideal treatment." The next essay, "Pen, Pencil, and Poison," is a fascinating literary appreciation of the life of Thomas Griffiths Wainewright, a talented painter, art critic, antiquarian, friend of Charles Lamb, and — murderer. The heart of the collection is the long two-part essay titled "The Critic as Artist." In one memorable passage after another, Wilde goes to great lengths to show that the critic is every bit as much an artist as the artist himself, in some cases more so. A good critic is like a virtuoso interpreter: "When Rubinstein plays ... he gives us not merely Beethoven, but also himself, and so gives us Beethoven absolutely...made vivid and wonderful to us by a new and intense personality. When a great actor plays Shakespeare we have the same experience." Finally, in "The Truth of Masks," Wilde returns to the theme of art as artifice and creative deception. This essay focuses on the use of masks, disguises, and costume in Shakespeare. For newcomers to Wilde and those who already know his famous plays and fiction, this superb collection of his criticism offers many delights.

The Decay of lying

Author : Oscar Wilde
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Author : Oscar Wilde
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"A collection of essays by Oscar Wilde; 'The Decay of Lying: An Observation' (a Socratic dialogue between Vivian and Cyril, two characters named after his own sons); 'Pen, Pencil and Poison: A Study in Green'; 'The Critic as Artist' (deals with the nature of beauty, taste, and art); and, 'The Truth of Masks: A Note on Illusion'."

The Right to Privacy

Author : Megan Richardson
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Using original and archival material, The Right to Privacy traces the origins and influence of the right to privacy as a social, cultural and legal idea. Richardson argues that this right had emerged as an important legal concept across a number of jurisdictions by the end of the nineteenth century, providing a basis for its recognition as a universal human right in later centuries. This book is a unique contribution to the history of the modern right to privacy. It covers the transition from Georgian to Victorian England, developments in Second Empire France, insights in the lead up to the Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch (BGB) of 1896, and the experience of a rapidly modernising America around the turn of the twentieth century. It will appeal to an audience of academic and postgraduate researchers, as well as to the judiciary and legal practice.

Jaunting on the Scoriac Tempests and Other Essays on Fantastic Literature

Author : Brian Stableford
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In this new collection of essays, well-known critic Brian Stableford presents twelve pieces on science-fiction and fantasy writers M. P. Shiel, Edward Bulwer-Lytton, Humphry Davy, Robert Hunt, Vernon Lee, J. G. Ballard, James Morrow, Dean Koontz, and Terry Pratchett. Complete with detailed index.


Author : Mo Rocca
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From popular TV correspondent and writer Rocca comes a charmingly irreverent and rigorously researched book that celebrates the dead people who made life worth living.

Sherlock Holmes from Screen to Stage

Author : Benjamin Poore
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This book investigates the development of Sherlock Holmes adaptations in British theatre since the turn of the millennium. Sherlock Holmes has become a cultural phenomenon all over again in the twenty-first century, as a result of the television series Sherlock and Elementary, and films like Mr Holmes and the Guy Ritchie franchise starring Robert Downey Jr. In the light of these new interpretations, British theatre has produced timely and topical responses to developments in the screen Sherlocks’ stories. Moreover, stage Sherlocks of the last three decades have often anticipated the knowing, metafictional tropes employed by screen adaptations. This study traces the recent history of Sherlock Holmes in the theatre, about which very little has been written for an academic readership. It argues that the world of Sherlock Holmes is conveyed in theatre by a variety of games that activate new modes of audience engagement.

The Philosophy Foundation Provocations

Author : David Birch
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This book is ideal for teachers, whether they are P4C trained or just experimenting with philosophy. It will help teachers to present ideas and stimulate discussions which both accommodate and engage adolescent appetites. Are human beings flawed? Is murder an act of insanity or just plain thoughtlessness? Do we need a soul? From the fall of Icarus to the rise of Caesar this practical book draws upon history, philosophy and literature to provoke students to think, question and wonder. Divided into chapters on The World, Self, Society and Others, this resource for secondary school is written to give teachers the means to listen rather than teach and to allow the ideas and thoughts of students to form the centre of the lesson. It raises questions on the nature of evil, belief in God, slavery, consumerism, utopia, the limits of freedom, and a whole lot more. With a clear introductory outline on its use both in and out of the classroom, Provocations also contains tips and advice to help guide teachers to span the curriculum. Applicable to History, Geography, RS, Science, Art, English and Citizenship it offers teachers of all subjects the opportunity to introduce a student-centred approach to their lessons. There is also an extensive bibliography for those who wish to explore the topics in greater depth. Provocations is a set of philosophy sessions designed for secondary school and predicated on the pedagogical methods of The Philosophy Foundation. These sessions are mature, challenging and provocative, using history, literature, myth and the world today as their basis. Each session contains particular pedagogical tips and advice and suggestions as to how they can be effectively delivered