Wilde and the Riddle of the Sphinx

14 Pages Posted: 14 Jan 2008

Date Written: 2008


Oscar Wilde's The Critic as Artist is shown to foreshadow some key concepts of poststructuralist interpretive theory - such as the necessary interplay of blindness and insight in criticism (Lacan, Paul de Man), or the retroactive effect of interpretation in the construction of the work. More specifically, Wilde's reading of the riddle of the Sphinx in a passage of this work both theorizes and dramatizes the paradoxical relationship between blindness and insight, in the shape of an ironic prophecy which can be read as Wilde's announcement of his own tragic downfall - in which there is an element of compulsive acting out that has been noted by a number of previous critics. That is, Wilde's Sphinx is used as the vehicle of a riddle about Wilde himself, and is an emblem of his own ambivalent attitude toward the public revelation of his homosexuality.

Note: Downloadable document is in Spanish.

Keywords: Wilde, Sphinx, Hermeneutics, Interpretation, Lacan, Criticism

Suggested Citation

Garcia Landa, Jose Angel, Wilde and the Riddle of the Sphinx (2008). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1082721 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1082721

Jose Angel Garcia Landa (Contact Author)

Universidad de Zaragoza ( email )

Gran Via 2
Zaragoza, 50005

HOME PAGE: http://www.garcialanda.net

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