Oscar Wilde's queer afterlives: sexuality in post- and neo-Victorian Wildeana

Markovic, Ana (2020) Oscar Wilde's queer afterlives: sexuality in post- and neo-Victorian Wildeana. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

Since his death in 1900, Oscar Wilde and his characters have featured in hundreds of novels, short stories, plays and films. At the same time, in the English and American sociocultural contexts in which these revisions circulate, there have been significant shifts in the understanding of sex, gender and sexuality. This thesis asks how post-1900 English and American Wildeana portrays and politicises Wilde’s sexuality. The examples of Wildeana analysed in this thesis were produced in a wide post-Victorian context. Wildeana therefore challenges the way we think about the historical trajectory of neo-Victorianism. Its long history and early political engagement with Wilde’s life and work suggest that Wildeana is not only a subset of neo-Victorianism but also one of its prototypical forms. Wildeana produced between 1900 and the present day reads as a critical response to the key events in queer history. By analysing the changes in the portrayal and politicisation of Wilde’s sexuality in post-1900 Wildeana, this thesis sheds light on the evolution of English and American conceptualisation of sex, gender and sexuality. Its aim is not to establish how Wilde understood his sexuality, nor to prove that at any stage of his life Wilde politicised his sexuality. This project focuses instead on Wildeana which invents political positions that Wilde might have held and employs them in homosexual identity politics. The Wildean referent has been repeatedly reinvented to embody new gender and sexual identities; it has been adapted and appropriated by numerous communities to voice their political agendas. Since post-1900 Wildeana mirrors the key events in queer history as well as the changes in the conception of same-sex desire and behaviour in English and American sociocultural contexts, this thesis reads Wildeana as an index to the history of English and American homosexual identity politics.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Oscar Wilde, Wildeana, sex, gender, sexuality, queer history, neo-Victorianism.
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Critical Studies > English Literature
Supervisor's Name: Kolocotroni, Dr. Vassiliki and Ferguson, Prof. Christine
Date of Award: 2020
Embargo Date: 21 February 2023
Depositing User: dr A Markovic
Unique ID: glathesis:2020-79047
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 11 Mar 2020 15:19
Last Modified: 11 Mar 2020 15:19
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/79047

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