Homoeroticism and decadence: (Re)surfacing and (de)coding the symbolic nature of representation in Wild(e) Victorian discourse

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Title

Homoeroticism and decadence: (Re)surfacing and (de)coding the symbolic nature of representation in Wild(e) Victorian discourse

Description

This dissertation is a comparative study of selected representative works of British and North American Victorian authors--Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray, Lady Windermere's Fan, The Importance of Being Earnest, and De Profundis ; Edward Aleister Crowley's White Stains ; and Henry James' What Maisie Knew --as a continuing exploration of writings that express the gay presence as an active part of Victorian society and culture and illustrates the development of the emerging gay voice from implicit to explicit in an encoded text.

This dissertation reveals a past when gays existed in silence and provides a focus through which to view the emergence of a literary gay identification as a coming of age experience that is accompanied by trials and tribulations endured by pioneers, martyrs, advocates, and defenders who advanced the rights of individuals to express themselves and to allow their voices to be heard. This study reveals the representation and reception of a gay identification through coded language, analyzing issues of the existing gay subculture that were initially forced to remain in the proverbial literary closet and the factors that enabled the eventual coming of age and coming to light of a confident and overt gay literature free from censorship, public scorn and personal shame. This analysis utilizes Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick's concept of "male homosexual panic" to demonstrate that gay Victorian writers were regulated by homophobia, which forced them to encode their works with an implicit discourse. This study applies a reader-response approach and explores the progression of understanding from real author to real reader, examining the encoded way in which the real author relies on the knowledge of the real reader to decode his message through a process of anagnorisis or camp since the works of literature discussed in this dissertation can be read as marked by consciousness of their probable reception. This study concludes with the importance of removing the qualifier of homosexual/heterosexual as an introduction to a discourse on literary texts and with the idea that the literary works by Wilde, James, Crowley, as well as others are the foundation of the voice of freedom, a freedom that would influence readers through an aesthetic education--an education of tolerance, acceptance, and understanding--the education of society through literature.

Creator

Catanzaro, Michael Raymond

Source

ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, http://search.proquest.com/docview/251167816

Publisher

UMI Dissertations Publishing

Date

2019-09-18

Contributor

UMI Dissertations Publishing

Rights

Copyrighted by author.

Relation

ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, http://search.proquest.com/docview/251167816

Format

PDF

Language

English

Type

PhD Dissertation

Text Item Type Metadata

Text

This dissertation is a comparative study of selected representative works of British and North American Victorian authors--Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray, Lady Windermere's Fan, The Importance of Being Earnest, and De Profundis ; Edward Aleister Crowley's White Stains ; and Henry James' What Maisie Knew --as a continuing exploration of writings that express the gay presence as an active part of Victorian society and culture and illustrates the development of the emerging gay voice from implicit to explicit in an encoded text.

This dissertation reveals a past when gays existed in silence and provides a focus through which to view the emergence of a literary gay identification as a coming of age experience that is accompanied by trials and tribulations endured by pioneers, martyrs, advocates, and defenders who advanced the rights of individuals to express themselves and to allow their voices to be heard. This study reveals the representation and reception of a gay identification through coded language, analyzing issues of the existing gay subculture that were initially forced to remain in the proverbial literary closet and the factors that enabled the eventual coming of age and coming to light of a confident and overt gay literature free from censorship, public scorn and personal shame. This analysis utilizes Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick's concept of "male homosexual panic" to demonstrate that gay Victorian writers were regulated by homophobia, which forced them to encode their works with an implicit discourse. This study applies a reader-response approach and explores the progression of understanding from real author to real reader, examining the encoded way in which the real author relies on the knowledge of the real reader to decode his message through a process of anagnorisis or camp since the works of literature discussed in this dissertation can be read as marked by consciousness of their probable reception. This study concludes with the importance of removing the qualifier of homosexual/heterosexual as an introduction to a discourse on literary texts and with the idea that the literary works by Wilde, James, Crowley, as well as others are the foundation of the voice of freedom, a freedom that would influence readers through an aesthetic education--an education of tolerance, acceptance, and understanding--the education of society through literature.

Original Format

paper

Files

http://www.johnlcrow.com/archive/files/original/8dd05439c91a1e19eb8dfb16a96a4b7e.pdf

Citation

Catanzaro, Michael Raymond, “Homoeroticism and decadence: (Re)surfacing and (de)coding the symbolic nature of representation in Wild(e) Victorian discourse,” John L. Crow's Akashic Archive, accessed September 18, 2019, http://archive.johnlcrow.com/items/show/73.

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