"La Consolation Des Arts": The Picture of Dorian Gray and Anglo-French Cultural Exchange

Abstract : This article analyses how Wilde deployed French intertextuality to shape his narrative and construct its theoretical framework. It assesses his debt to Gautier, Goncourt, Huysmans and Balzac, from whom he even borrowed verbatim. It focuses on the inscription of French words in Wilde's text, which are italicized to signal their otherness. That typographical device partakes of Wilde's presentation of bound French books as objets d'art. The title -"la consolation des arts''- quotes a line paraphrasing Gautier which Wilde embedded in his text. It suggests how things French (its literature, but the minor arts of perfume and lace-making as well) provide solace to Dorian Gray. An annotation in French in a copy of Wilde's novel in turn shows how it comforted a French reader in his or her amoral idealization of uselessness, thus completing the cycle of cultural exchange.
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Emily Eells. "La Consolation Des Arts": The Picture of Dorian Gray and Anglo-French Cultural Exchange. Etudes Anglaises, Klincksieck, 2016, 69 (1), pp.62--75. ⟨hal-01640343⟩

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