Charles Dickens e Oscar Wilde



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Dickens is defined as a realistic novelist, in fact he has a typical repugnance for a rappresentation of sexuality and depravation typical of Victorian Age. He’s meticulous about his detail, especially when he describes London slums. The Only crime in Dickens is a murder, his realism is gave by his sensational description like the death of Sickes in Oliver Twist.
Dickens’ characters born by an observation of real people. They may be divided into good and evil, but everyone is considered individual. Dickens describes them like exaggerate and grotesque but in a best way. He’s also an observer of eternal qualities of people. Thanks to his representation of simple characters and his sense of humor, he is unsurpassed.
Each Dickens’s characters have his sense of humor. We can find this in his characters, dialogue and in whole episodes. He’s able to see the comic aspects of lower – middle class and can be subtle and gentle but also paradoxical and sarcastic.
We can find some negative and positive aspects in Dickens’ writing like:
1) His plots aren’t real organic and are to full of unhappy events;
2) His characters are superficially portrayed;
3) His sentimentalism and pathos are often excessive;
4) His comic scenes are often too melodramatic;
5) His imagination has created a great number of incidents and situations;
6) His characters cover a wide range of people;
7) His plots can catch the reader’s attentions;
8) His style is fluent and effective;
9) His occasional use of symbolism catchs the attention of audience.
The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood
The term “Pre-Raphaelite” came into use when young painters criticizing Raphael’s Transfiguration, reject the academic taste and classical doctrines, and praised the purity and simplicity of the Italian art of the 13th and 14th centuries. The movement began, at the end of the 1840s, as an attempt to introduce in visual art, not only the qualities of medieval Italian painting, but a concern with naturalistic accuracy of detail. The merely decorative neo-medievalism, subjectivity, dreaminess, the morbid and languid sensuousness had become its dominant features. The Pre-Raphaelite painters turned their eyes away from the contemporary industrial and urban world, and conceived the creation of beauty as a duty owed to society.
Group of poets: Dante Gabriele Rossetti and his sister Christina and William Morris. Both a poet and a painter, D. G. Rossetti was the strongest personality and organizer of the group, while Morris’s figure was outstanding for the incredibly wide range of his interest.
Some common features of this movement are: a deliberate simplicity of manner, taste for detail, the peculiarity of sensory detail, often visual or auditory, a characteristic taste in decoration, the recurrence of certain habits or feeling, the use of religious language, the static, unreal atmosphere.
Their open revolt against the contemporary values and their search for new sources of inspiration and new ways of expression anticipated the Aesthetic Movement.
Aestheticism and Decadence
The Aesthetic Movement developed in the universities and intellectual circles in the last decades of the 19th century. Born in France with Gautier, it reflected the sense of frustration and uncertainty of the artist, it’s a reaction against the materialism and the restrictive moral code of the bourgeoisie. French artists escaped into aesthetic isolation, into what Gautier defined “Art for Art’s Sake”. The bohémien embodied his protest against the monotony and vulgarity of bourgeois life, with an unconventional existence.
He deepened psychological analysis but refused the convention of the omniscient narrator. Most of his stories are told from the point of view of one character speaking in the first person.
The line of development of the Aesthetic Movement can be traced back to the Renaissance poet Spenser and the romantic poet Keats, with his cult of beauty and the awareness of the contrast art-life. Ruskin protested against the indifference of the materialistic Victorian Society to art and the beautiful. Ruskin supported the Pre-Raphaelism, a group of artists who rejected academic art in favour of the spontaneity and spirituality of Italian painters before Raphael. Swimburne was influenced by the Pre-Raphaelites and by French writers.
Oscar Wilde was born in Dublin in 1854. The family belonged to the wealthy Protestant minority. He soon began to adopt extravagant poses: he dressed exotically and wore his hair long. He settled in London and soon became the leading personality of English decadentism. He went to the USA and married Constance Lloyd, and they had two children. Wilde wrote The Picture of Dorian Grey, a novel which contains his aesthetic creed. Dorian Grey is an upper young man of extraordinary beauty. A painter is so impressed by his looks that he decides to paint a full-lenght portrait of him. But Dorian is not just wonderfully handsome. Wilde wrote also Lady Windermere’s Fan, A Woman of No Importance, An Ideal Husband and The Importance of Being Ernest. Salomè was written in French because it was a language more suited to decadence. He became friend with Lord Alfred Douglas, but this relationship was fatal to him. He was accused of homosexual and he imprisoned with hard labour. When he was released from prison he had become poor and unknown. His wife refused to join him but sent him money to help him survive. Two works were the result of the experience of prison: De Profundis, a confession in form of letter to Lord Alfred Douglas, and The Ballad of Reading Goal, a poem. Wilde dead in Paris in 1900. One of the adjectives which best suits the personality of Wilde is eclectic. His output covered all the literary forms, from verse to narrative, from essay to drama. Each of his works is full of originality, of wit, brilliant in expression. Wilde was the embodiment of Aestheticism. He had an extravagant style of living. The Aesthetes were fascinated by the contrast art-life, asserting the superiority of art. there was the triumph of art over life. Oscar wilde was more popular abroad than in his own country.
Jack Worthing, bold man from the strangers native, alive in country together with Cecily, an eighteen year-old girl on which manages the guardianship, and with the governess of this last, Miss Prism. Jack decides to go to London and to attend the city living rooms as Ernest introducing himself: he intends above all to visit the house of the friend Algernon Moncrieff, to the purpose to meet her cousin, the beautiful Gwendolen Fairfax, of which he wants to ask the hand. The young suffered this proposal of marriage, convinced also of the fact that her pretender calls Ernest, name that on her practices a particular charm. Meanwhile Algernon comes to know that the young Cecily has been submitted to the friend and, desiring to know her, it brings him in the country: after having discovered the address it introduces him in the house, affirming to be the smaller brother of Jack, and he succeeds in seducing Cecily. In the meantime the same Jack arrives, which is well soon reached by Gwendolen, definite to marry him despite the opposition of her mother, Lady Bracknell, hostile to the marriage since she has known that Jack is a foundling even if then adopted by a well-off family. Cecily and Gwendolen so they become friends but, confiding herself, they discover that the respective fiancés have lied on his own identity; nevertheless, after various quarrels among the four persons in love, all seems to level him. Of there to few, looking for her daughter Gwendolen, comes also in the country Lady Bracknell. It comes so to knowledge of the engagement of her nephew Algernon with Cecily and, sees the rich dowry of the girl, it approves without reservations it. To this point however it is Jack as guardian of the young girl, to refuse his own consent, at least until Lady Bracknell it will keep on opposing herself to his marriage with Gwendolen. The tangled story resolves only when the governess of Cecily appears, Miss Prism, in which Lady Bracknell recognises the woman that, many years before had disappeared bringing with itself the first-born child of her sister, Mrs Moncrieff: Jack, in fact, is not other that the most greater brother of Algernon and his true name is really Ernest. Resolved therefore all the doubts on his origins, Jack can finally to marry Gwendolen e Cecily becomes the wife of Algernon.
o criticizing of Victorian hypocrisy, prudery and exaggerated seriousness
o marriage: is the driving motive of the plot, but it’s presented in a ridiculous way. It’s an important and serious thing, but here it becomes a ridiculous and a superficial thing.
o Food: it’s a weapon (=something that helps you to achieve something difficult) of warfare(=the activity of fighting) both personal and social. The scenes in which there is food become emotional. The characters are always drinking and eating (tea, bread-and-butter, cake, muffins…)
o Money: Human frailty can be contrasted by money, a real, solid qualities, one of “the qualities that last and improve with time”. Lady Bracknell id the main character liked to this theme.
o Imagination is used as an escape from reality: in the play the characters can change their identity as they want and parents are discovered by an act of will.
o DOPPELGANGER=double go >> to have a double life >> hypocrisy