Sexual Drama in the Early Poetry

  • Patricia Flanagan Behrendt


A mainstay of Wilde criticism is an attempt to reconcile Wilde’s personality, which led to his public reputation as a decadent dandy and poseur ruined in a spectacular sex scandal, with his achievements in literature. In 1985, in the introduction to a volume of critical essays covering Wilde’s major works, Harold Bloom returns, as most Wilde critics explicitly do, to the ultimate question: why was the artist who was so immersed in life and letters, the author of “The Soul of Man Under Socialism” and The Importance of Being Earnest, “so doom-eager?”1 Why did Wilde, at the height of his reputation as a successful playwright, allow himself to be broken on the public wheel of scandal which he could have avoided? The puzzle is exaggerated by our general tendency to exalt artistic and intellectual achievements, elevating them above other aspects of human behavior, especially above those associated with sexual activity which society labels scandalous.


Sexual Anxiety Male Companion Sexual Drama Sexual Jealousy Endless Cycle 
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Copyright information

© Patricia Flanagan Behrendt 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Patricia Flanagan Behrendt
    • 1
  1. 1.University of NebraskaLincolnUSA

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