Faith and Reason: the Bible, the Catholic Church and Wilde’s Scandalous Writings

  • Jarlath Killeen
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Nineteenth-Century Writing and Culture book series (PNWC)


In the previous chapter I discussed how the Catholic Church was construed, by both the English public and the intelligentsia, as a sexually scandalous institution within Victorian England. I also demonstrated that the folk-Catholic beliefs of the Irish peasantry of the west were considered theologically and (at times) sexually transgressive by the institutional Catholic Church in that country. The scandalous nature of the Catholicism Wilde encountered in both Ireland and Oxford formed part of the attraction he felt for this ‘outlawed’ religion. Of course, some of Wilde’s own writings were considered scandalous themselves, and in this chapter we will turn to two of these works: The Portrait of Mr. W. H. and Salome, and consider how religious issues can contribute to an interpretation of both.


High Criticism Catholic Ideal Biblical Narrative Protestant Theologian Irish Famine 
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Copyright information

© Jarlath Killeen 2005

Authors and Affiliations

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

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