This book argues that the writings of Oscar Wilde can fruitfully be analysed as expressive of an Irish Catholic heritage. This is an important, if perhaps controversial, claim, and it may initially seem puzzling to many readers. Even today, the fact that Wilde was Irish comes as something of a shock to his readers, and, except for those scholars who have made Wilde a subject of study, that he was interested in Catholicism is virtually unknown. Both Terry Eagleton and Jerusha McCormack have indicated their frustration that the students they teach assume that Wilde was English,1 and they have been among the many critics who have sought in recent years to make Wilde’s nationality a central feature of their analyses of his work. McCormack has gone on to argue that Wilde’s Catholic interests are also crucial to understanding him,2 a claim that has been supported by other critics such as Ellis Hanson and Ronald Schuchard.3 That there is a link between these two elements — nationality and religion — has not, however, been fully explored, and yet, I believe, this link can explain much about Wilde and his writings.


Cultural Nationalism Royal Irish Academy English Army Irish Identity Constitutional Nationalism 
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Copyright information

© Jarlath Killeen 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jarlath Killeen
    • 1
  1. 1.University of KeeleUK

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