Oscar Wilde dramatist, poet, novelist and essayist, spokesman for the school of “Art for art's sake”, the leader of the Aesthetic movement
Aestheticism • The basic theory of the aesthetic – “art for art‘s sake” The chief representative of the movement in England was Oscar Wilde, with his The Picture of Dorian Gray. Aestheticism places art above life, and holds that life should imitate art, not art imitate life. According to aesthetes, all artistic creation is absolutely subjective as opposed to objective. Art should be free from any influence of egoism(利己主义[i:]). Only when art is for art's sake can it be immortal. It should be restricted to contributing beauty in a highly polished style.
Art for Art’s sake • That art is nothing to do with morality (art is not moral immoral but amoral), that the best of art is pure art, that the duty of an art critic is to tell his own impressions of a work of art, and that the function of art is to attract, to please and to provide enjoyment. But he elaborated on this theory of art for art’s sake, and even declared that it is not art that reflects nature but it is nature that is the reflection of art.
The pioneer dramatists • a. The most celebrated dramatists in the last decade of the 19th century were Oscar Wilde and George Bernard Shaw ,who ,in a sense, pioneered the modern drama . • b. Wilde expressed a satirical and bitter attitude towards the upper-class people ,in his masterpiece ,The Importance of Being Earnest .
Oscar Wilde and his works 《 道林·格雷的画像》（The Picture of Dorian Gray，1891年） 《快乐王子和其他故事》（The Happy Prince and Other Tales，1888年） 《石榴屋》（A House of Pomegranates，1891年） 《诗集》（Poems，1881年） <斯芬克斯》（Sphinx，1894年） 《瑞丁监狱之歌》（The Ballad of Reading Gaol，1898年） 《社会主义下人的灵魂》（The Soul of Man Under Socialism，1891年。） 《深渊书简》（De Profundis，1897年。又译《自深深处》、《王尔德狱中记》原本是 作者写给道格拉斯的书信集，1905年作者死后出版）
《薇拉》（Vera，1880年）《温德密尔夫人的扇子》（Lady Windermere`s Fan，1892年。又译《温夫人的扇子》、《少奶奶的扇子》）帕都瓦公爵夫人》（The Duchess of Padua，1893年）《莎乐美》（Salomé，1893年）（原著用法语写成）《无足轻重的女人》（A Woman of No Importance，1892年）（1893年Theatre Royal Haymarket首演）《真诚最要紧》（The Importance of Being Earnest，1895年）《理想的丈夫》（An Ideal Husband，1895年。又译《好丈夫》）
The analysis of the Importance of Being Earnest • Question: • 1. Who is Ernest? What is the relationship between Jack and Ernest? • 2. Why does Jack finally agree to have dinner with Algernon tonight? • 3. What do you think of Jack and Algernon? Do you like their witty words? Why or Why not?
Wilde expressed a satirical and bitter attitude towards the upper-class people by revealing their corruption, their snobbery, and their hypocrisy in his plays, especially in his masterpiece, The Importance-of Being Earnest (1895).