Oscar Wilde's Profession: Writing and the Culture Industry in the Late Nineteenth Century

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9780198187288: Oscar Wilde's Profession: Writing and the Culture Industry in the Late Nineteenth Century
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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'.

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Review:

Oscar Wilde's Profession is essential reading as a bold debunking of those accounts of Wilde which, while claiming to liberate his political agenda, have tended to limit both the man and his oeuvre ... Guy and Small's careful evaluations provide a new benchmark for critical standards in an area dominated by overdetermined theories of sexuality and textuality. They may present a less attractive Oscar, but they certainly establish a more accurate Wilde that reveals more facets of a myriad-minded complexity. (Modern Language Review)

Guy and Small's measured assessment of the progressive trajectory of Wilde's career challenges many commonplace myths about his spectacular rise and fall in the cultural arena ... accomplished and highly significant study. (Modern Language Review)

The book is extremely well written, and clear in its approach and aims. (The Journal of the Oscar Wilde Society)

About the Author:

Josephine M. Guy is Senior Lecturer in the School of English, University of Nottingham.

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Book Description Oxford University Press, United Kingdom, 2001. Hardback. Condition: New. New. Language: English. Brand new Book. 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'scontracts 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 immersedin 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'. Seller Inventory # LHB9780198187288

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