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In this engaging and provocative reading of the relations between two canonical Anglo-American authors and the aesthetic culture they helped create, Michele Mendelssohn challenges critical assumptions about the way Aestheticism responded to anxieties about nationality, sexuality, identity, influence, originality and morality. This book, the first fully sustained reading of Henry James's and Oscar Wilde's relationship, reveals why the antagonisms between both authors are symptomatic of the cultural oppositions within Aestheticism itself. The book also shows how these conflicting energies animated the late nineteenth century's most exciting transatlantic cultural enterprise. Richly illustrated and historically detailed, this study of James's and Wilde's intricate, decades-long relationship brings to light Aestheticism's truly transatlantic nature through close readings of both authors' works, as well as nineteenth-century art, periodicals and rare manuscripts. As Mendelssohn shows, both authors were deeply influenced by the visual and decorative arts, and by contemporary artists such as George Du Maurier and James McNeill Whistler. Henry James, Oscar Wilde and Aesthetic Culture offers a nuanced reading of a complex relationship that promises to transform the way in which we imagine late nineteenth-century British and American literary culture. Key Features * The first study devoted exclusively to Wilde and James, who are the most important Irish and American nineteenth-century authors * Rewrites standard assumptions about James's and Wilde's relationship and traces its implications for British and American Aestheticism * Redefines Aestheticism and offers full re-readings of late nineteenth-century literature, visual and material culture, theatre, as well as psychology and sexual identity * Refers to several previously unpublished letters by Henry James

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780748623853
ISBN-10: 074862385X
Format: Hardback
(234mm x 156mm x 24mm)
Pages: 328
Imprint: Edinburgh University Press
Publisher: Edinburgh University Press
Publish Date: 20-Jun-2007
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

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Author Biography - Michele Mendelssohn

Michele Mendelssohn is University Lecturer and Tutorial Fellow in the English Faculty at Oxford University.

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