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The Artist as Critic

Critical Writings of Oscar Wilde

Although known primarily as the irreverent but dazzlingly witty playwright who penned The Importance of Being Earnest, Oscar Wilde was also an able and farsighted critic. He was an early advocate of criticism as an independent branch of literature and stressed its vital role in the creative process. Scholars continue to debate many of Wilde’s critical positions.

Included in Richard Ellmann’s impressive collection of Wilde’s criticism, The Artist as Critic, is a wide selection of Wilde’s book reviews as well as such famous longer works as "The Portrait of Mr. W.H.," "The Soul Man under Socialism," and the four essays which make up Intentions. The Artist as Critic will satisfy any Wilde fan’s yearning for an essential reading of his critical work.

"Wilde . . . emerges now as not only brilliant but also revolutionary, one of the great thinkers of dangerous thoughts."—Walter Allen, New York Times Book Review

"The best of Wilde’s nonfictional prose can be found in The Artist as Critic."—Michael Dirda, Washington Post Book World

474 pages | 5.5 x 8.5 | © 1968

Literature and Literary Criticism: British and Irish Literature

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Critic as Artist as Wilde, by Richard Ellmann
The Tomb of Keats (1877)
Impressions of America (1883)
Mr. Whistler’s Ten O’Clock (1885)
The Relation of Dress to Art. A Note in Black and White on Mr. Whistler’s Lecture (1885)
Dinners and Dishes (1885)
[George Saintsbury:] "Half Hours with the Worst Authors" (1886)
To Read, or Not to Read (1886)
Balzac in English (1886)
Ben Jonson (1886)
Two Biographies of Sir Philip Sidney (1886)
The Poets and the People (1887)
A New Book on Dickens (1887)
A Cheap Edition of a Great Man [Rossetti] (1887)
The American Invasion (1887)
The American Man (1887)
The Butterfly’s Boswell (1887)
The Rout of the R[oyal] A[cademy] (1887)
William Morris’s Odyssey (1887)
[Dostoevsky’s The Insulted and Injured] (1887)
Mr. Mahaffy’s New Book [Greek Life and Thought] (1887)
The Poet’s Corner (1888)
M. Caro on George Sand (1888)
[Poems by Henley and Sharp] (1888)
English Poetesses (1888)
London Models (1889)
Poetry and Prison (1889)
The Gospel According to Walt Whitman (1889)
The New President [of the Royal Society of British Artists] (1889)
[Yeats’s Fairy and Folk Tales] (1889)
Mr. Froude’s Blue Book [on Ireland] (1889)
Ouida’s New Novel [Guilderoy] (1889)
Mr. Swinburne’s Last Volume (1889)
[Yeats’s The Wanderings of Oisin] (1889)
The Portrait of Mr W.H. (1921)
A Chinese Sage [Confucius] (1890)
Mr. Pater’s Last Volume [Appreciations]
Preface to The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891)
[Defense of Dorian Gray] (letters to the press, 1890)
The Soul of Man under Socialism (1891)
Intentions (1891)
The Decay of Lying
Pen Pencil and Poison
The Critic as Artist
The Truth of Masks
Phrases and Philosophies for the Use of the Young (1894)
[Oscar Wilde on the Witness Stand] (1895)

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