The aim of this chapter is to show how Gothic narrative provided Wilde with a ready-made series of stock images and literary devices, which he cleverly assembled in the rather new context of short stories, so as to create parodic counterparts to the more widespread genres of the ghost story and detective fiction. I will particularly focus on three of his most Gothic short stories, “Lord Arthur Saville’s Crime” (1891), “The Sphinx without a Secret” (1887) and “The Canterville Ghost” (1887). By fusing together mysterious Gothic atmospheres, a touch of Aestheticism, and the whipping irony that would make his name famous in the later Society Comedies, I will demonstrate how these short stories successfully create paradoxical sketches of an adrift society. They too, therefore, contribute to justifying Richard Le Gallienne’s famous statement, according to which Wilde’s alert parodies of his contemporaries “made dying Victorianism laugh at itself, and it may be said to have died of the laughter” (1925, 270).

“It is all written in the palm of my hand […] I forgot which”. Gothic Parodies in Oscar Wilde’s Short Stories

Ragni C
2018-01-01

Abstract

The aim of this chapter is to show how Gothic narrative provided Wilde with a ready-made series of stock images and literary devices, which he cleverly assembled in the rather new context of short stories, so as to create parodic counterparts to the more widespread genres of the ghost story and detective fiction. I will particularly focus on three of his most Gothic short stories, “Lord Arthur Saville’s Crime” (1891), “The Sphinx without a Secret” (1887) and “The Canterville Ghost” (1887). By fusing together mysterious Gothic atmospheres, a touch of Aestheticism, and the whipping irony that would make his name famous in the later Society Comedies, I will demonstrate how these short stories successfully create paradoxical sketches of an adrift society. They too, therefore, contribute to justifying Richard Le Gallienne’s famous statement, according to which Wilde’s alert parodies of his contemporaries “made dying Victorianism laugh at itself, and it may be said to have died of the laughter” (1925, 270).
9788885803169
Oscar Wilde
Short Stories
Irish Gothic
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11562/1056073
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