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Essays and Lectures   By: (1854-1900)

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In "Essays and Lectures" by Oscar Wilde, readers are treated to a collection of thought-provoking and insightful writings that showcase the author's sharp intellect and wit. Spanning a wide range of subjects, from art and literature to society and culture, these essays and lectures serve as a testament to Wilde's unique perspective on life.

One of the standout aspects of this book is Wilde's brilliant use of language and his distinctive writing style. Each piece is crafted with precision and elegance, making reading a true pleasure. He effortlessly combines humor and wit with profound philosophical insights, ensuring that readers are both entertained and intellectually challenged. The language is rich and poetic, often giving readers pause to reflect on the profound truths contained within.

Wilde's keen observations on art and aesthetics are particularly captivating. His essay on "The Critic as Artist" delves into the importance of criticism and the role of the artist in society. Through his musings, he urges readers to question the conventional notions of art and beauty, encouraging them to explore their own unique perspectives. This essay, in particular, stands as an important piece of art criticism that remains relevant even today.

Another noteworthy aspect of this collection is its ability to tackle social and cultural issues in a way that feels both timeless and contemporary. Wilde's lecture on "The Soul of Man Under Socialism" is a powerful critique of the prevailing capitalist system, offering a vision of a more equal and just society. Through his arguments, he challenges the conventional beliefs of his time, urging readers to reevaluate their own positions and consider alternative ways of organizing society.

In addition to the subject matter itself, Wilde's personal anecdotes and experiences woven throughout the essays add a layer of depth and authenticity to his arguments. Readers are given glimpses into his own life and beliefs, which further enhances their understanding of his ideas. This personal touch serves to humanize Wilde, making him more relatable and his writings more engaging.

However, some readers may find that the essays occasionally become overly verbose or highly intellectual, making them less accessible to a general audience. While the language and ideas are undoubtedly inspiring, there are moments where the writing can become dense and difficult to follow. This may deter some readers who are not well-versed in the subjects being discussed.

Overall, "Essays and Lectures" by Oscar Wilde is a captivating collection of writings that showcases the brilliance and depth of the author's mind. It is a thought-provoking read that challenges conventional beliefs and encourages readers to question their own perspectives. With his trademark wit and eloquence, Wilde leaves a lasting impression and offers valuable insights that resonate long after the book is finished. It is a must-read for anyone interested in art, literature, and society.

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Essays and Lectures by Oscar Wilde Scanned and proofed by David Price, ccx074@coventry.ac.uk

Essays and Lectures

Contents

The Rise of Historical Criticism The English Renaissance of Art House Decoration Art and the Handicraftman Lecture to Art Students London Models Poems in Prose

THE RISE OF HISTORICAL CRITICISM

CHAPTER I

HISTORICAL criticism nowhere occurs as an isolated fact in the civilisation or literature of any people. It is part of that complex working towards freedom which may be described as the revolt against authority. It is merely one facet of that speculative spirit of an innovation, which in the sphere of action produces democracy and revolution, and in that of thought is the parent of philosophy and physical science; and its importance as a factor of progress is based not so much on the results it attains, as on the tone of thought which it represents, and the method by which it works.

Being thus the resultant of forces essentially revolutionary, it is not to be found in the ancient world among the material despotisms of Asia or the stationary civilisation of Egypt. The clay cylinders of Assyria and Babylon, the hieroglyphics of the pyramids, form not history but the material for history.

The Chinese annals, ascending as they do to the barbarous forest life of the nation, are marked with a soberness of judgment, a freedom from invention, which is almost unparalleled in the writings of any people; but the protective spirit which is the characteristic of that people proved as fatal to their literature as to their commerce... Continue reading book >>




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