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Sexual DissidenceAugustine to Wilde, Freud to Foucault$
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Jonathan Dollimore

Print publication date: 1991

Print ISBN-13: 9780198112259

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198112259.001.0001

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Wilde's Transgressive Aesthetic and Contemporary Cultural Politics

Wilde's Transgressive Aesthetic and Contemporary Cultural Politics

Chapter:
(p.64) 4Wilde's Transgressive Aesthetic and Contemporary Cultural Politics
Source:
Sexual Dissidence
Author(s):

Jonathan Dollimore

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198112259.003.0004

Oscar Wilde's transgressive aesthetic relates to contemporary theoretical debates in at least three respects: first, the dispute about whether the inversion of binary opposites subverts, or, on the contrary, reinforces the order which those binaries uphold; second, the political importance — or irrelevance — of decentring the subject; third, post-modernism and one of its more controversial features: the so-called disappearance of the depth model, especially the model of a deep human subjectivity, and the cultural and political ramifications of this. It is said that Wildean inversion disturbs nothing; by merely reversing the terms of the binary, inversion remains within its limiting framework: an inverted world can only be righted, not changed. There are two responses to this, one theoretical, the other historical. This chapter takes the theoretical first, since it is necessarily both a general question about deconstruction, and a specific question about the binary and its inversion.

Keywords:   Oscar Wilde, transgressive aesthetic, inversion, binary, post-modernism, depth model, deconstruction, subjectivity

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