Oscar Wilde’s Catholic Aesthetics in a Secular Age

  title={Oscar Wilde’s Catholic Aesthetics in a Secular Age},
  author={Joseph McQueen},
  journal={SEL Studies in English Literature 1500-1900},
  pages={865 - 886}
  • J. McQueen
  • Published 1 December 2017
  • Art, Philosophy
  • SEL Studies in English Literature 1500-1900
Abstract: Oscar Wilde’s aesthetics and his Catholicism bear important—if often unnoticed—connections. When read through recent revisions of secularization theory, Wilde’s aestheticism in “The Decay of Lying” (1889) and “The Critic as Artist” (1890) reveals its Catholic underpinnings in its hostility to artistic modes that reject transcendence and treat nature and life as purely immanent, self-enclosed spheres of meaning. Here, Wilde resists reductive understandings of goodness and truth… 
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