AP Seminar: The Utopia of Oscar Wilde

Posted on April 21, 2020

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Oscar Wilde is one of my favorite authors and also the man who has come up with more of my favorite quotes than anyone else in the world (“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken” is my fave). His books are always a good time, and his most famous one – The Picture of Dorian Gray – is part horror, part suspense, and part hints of the life that many people alive during the late 1800s would like to live. Morality laws were violently strict – Wilde spent two years serving hard labor time in prison for a love affair with Lord Alfred Douglass, which broke his spirit as well as his health. His later works, especially his final poem The Ballad of Reading Gaol are a dark contrast to the sunny, upbeat, and arguably (for Wilde, at least) utopian ideas he had.

Unfortunately, the bitter reality of the world in which he lived snuffed out one of the greatest literary minds of all time. Victorian and Edwardian England was a double edged sword. It was a time of increased economic prosperity and also a time of tightening social mores.

For some background, please check out these videos on Wilde, finishing with a summary of The Picture of Dorian Gray:

 

Finally, please read “A Utopian Decay” by Ansı Sev Ateş. The password is a lower cased version of where you go to school.

Write two questions and post them in the comments section by Monday, April 27th and respond to two questions by Wednesday, April 29th.