Aestheticism In Oscar Wilde's The Picture Of Dorian Gray

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INTRODUCTION Aestheticism, which found its footing in Europe in the early nineteenth century, proposed that art ‘need not serve moral, political, or otherwise didactic ends.’ Irish poet and playwright Oscar Wilde was a dramatic leader in promoting the movement near the end of the nineteenth century. The English essayist Walter Pater, an advocate of "art for art's sake," helped to form society’s aesthetics in which they was more concerned with the self, than with popular movements like Industrialism or Capitalism. His views, especially those presented in a collection of essays called The Renaissance, had a profound impact on the English poets of the 1890s, most notably Wilde himself. In Wilde’s only novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray,…show more content…
Ascetism is a lifestyle characterised by abstinence from sensual pleasures, which was adopted by much of the world-weary middle class. In this decade, many people in continental Europe felt a sense of discontent. The morals that once seemed to control life and give it meaning were lost to an age of enlightenment. The two main reasons for this disillusionment were connected to the public functions of morality and art, which, in Victorian England, were directly linked. It was thought that art should function as a moral barometer, and for many people, this dictum left room for only the most restrictive values and uninspired art. The term “fin de siècle” therefore came to describe a branch of thinking that sought to restore beauty and meaning to art and to broaden it’s public appeal. Thus, the concept of aestheticism was born. In this climate, an artist could assert himself as a rarefied being, one leading the search for beauty in an age marked by social hypocrisy, shameful class inequality and illiberal complacency. No-one adopted this attitude more boldly, or with more shameless flair, than Oscar Wilde. His dedication to living a life of beauty and to transform his life into a work of art is reflected in the beliefs and actions of many characters in his only
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