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“The Love that dare not Speak its Name:” Oscar Wilde’s Early Prose and Discourses of Sexuality in Fin-de- Siècle England

Kamerer, Lindsey (2013) “The Love that dare not Speak its Name:” Oscar Wilde’s Early Prose and Discourses of Sexuality in Fin-de- Siècle England. Masters thesis, Radford University.

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Abstract

Literature of the Victorian era is riddled with underlying shadows of sexuality that manifests into powerful expression. Sexuality became labeled, organized, and categorized through nearly all aspects of cultural and social life, including education, law, and medicine, proliferating the discourses and creating a new “species” of sexual creature: the perverse homosexual. Foucault argues that what appeared to be repression by such discourses was in reality the exact opposite, as sexuality exploded into all facets of life, giving shape, name, and existence to the sexuality of humankind. Closely studying the literature and life of Oscar Wilde allows for a lens into how sexual discourse operated on the individual level, extending the discussion Foucault presents on sexual discourses in regards to the larger society. While proliferation of sexual discourses through the various branches of society may have been beneficial in giving shape to the existence of unique sexualities and “polymorphously perverse” sexualities, it was repressive to individuals that practiced acts outside of the accepted norm. Oscar Wilde and his characters represent internalized homophobia that developed from wide spread non-acceptance of their identities.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PR English literature
Divisions: UNSPECIFIED
Depositing User: Lindsey Kamerer
Date Deposited: 04 Jun 2013 15:59
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2013 15:59
URI: http://wagner.radford.edu/id/eprint/112

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