This chapter evaluates Oscar Wilde's literary strategy. It notes that critics described Wilde as a dilettante and that his work was marred by its fundamental lack of seriousness. It examines Wilde's engagement with a series of contemporary assumptions about texts in the expectation of finding qualities such as consistency, originality, and authority, as well as his use of motifs. It discusses how Wilde challenged the relationship between authority and institutional orthodoxy, and thus, challenged the traditional relationships between authority and knowledge. He redefines authority and places it in the hands of the man of taste — the Aesthete, the exemplar of whom was of course Wilde himself.
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