Henry James, Oscar Wilde and Aesthetic Culture, Paperback / softback Book

Henry James, Oscar Wilde and Aesthetic Culture Paperback / softback

Part of the Edinburgh Studies in Transatlantic Literatures series


This book challenges critical assumptions about the way Aestheticism responded to anxieties about nationality, sexuality, identity, influence, originality and morality.

This book, the first fully sustained reading of Henry James' and Oscar Wilde's relationship, reveals why the antagonisms between both authors are symptomatic of the cultural oppositions within Aestheticism itself.

The book also shows how these conflicting energies animated the late 19th century's most exciting transatlantic cultural enterprise.

Richly illustrated and historically detailed, this study of James' and Wilde's intricate, decades-long relationship brings to light Aestheticism's truly transatlantic nature through close readings of both authors' works, as well as 19th-century art, periodicals and rare manuscripts.

As Mendelssohn shows, both authors were deeply influenced by the visual and decorative arts, and by contemporary artists such as George Du Maurier and James McNeill Whistler.

Henry James, Oscar Wilde and Aesthetic Culture offers a nuanced reading of a co 19th-century British and American literary culture.

This is the first study devoted exclusively to Wilde and James. It rewrites standard assumptions about James' and Wilde's relationship and traces its implications for British and American Aestheticism.

It redefines Aestheticism and offers full re-readings of late 19th-century literature, visual and material culture, theatre, as well as psychology and sexual identity.

It refers to several previously unpublished letters by Henry James.


  • Format: Paperback / softback
  • Pages: 328 pages, illustrations
  • Publisher: Edinburgh University Press
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Literary studies: c 1800 to c 1900
  • ISBN: 9780748697533

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