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The Wilde Century: Effeminacy, Oscar Wilde, and the Queer Moment
For 15 years in Victorian England, Oscar Wilde was able to carry on like the famous camp queen of our imaginings - effete, leisured, aesthetic, amoral, decadent, dandified. This work explores how Wilde was seen before the trials that ended his career and made him the most famous queer man since Socrates. In particular, it examines the concept of effeminacy and asks how Wil ...more
Paperback, 216 pages
Published July 1st 1994 by Columbia University Press
(first published 1994)
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Sinfield is one of the more balanced authors in queer theory. He doesn't make claims so vast as to be untenable, and doesn't make claims so defensible as to be unimportantly intuitive. It's true, one would expect this text to deal more with Oscar Wilde's trail; however, the text deals with the century the developed Wilde and was influenced by Wilde. Most importantly the text deconstructs the notion of the effeminate gay man, and shows clearly how the separate notions of same-sex passion and effe ...more
Not really about Oscar Wilde or about queer literary theory, but once I got over feeling like I was schemed into reading it by my English lit lecturer, it got better. Kind of. It does have immensely interesting bits - such as the things it says about molly houses, but then it has immensely uninteresting, pedantic bits too - virtually anything that allures to Freud. Worth reading, but probably not before a lot of other really good books.
Well-argued thesis on the history of our image of gay men, and it's recent connection with effeminacy. I found it very enlightening, and accessible, though the last chapter, about the modern gay movement, was perhaps a bit dated.