Why should we still be interested in Oscar Wilde?  Maybe his adaptation of the myth about Narcissus (The Disciple) may help me to explain this.  We all know that myth but Wilde's version surprises us because he distorts the story fundamentally. Not only Narcissus but also his mirror turns out to be vain.  If Wilde could be called a genius, the reason should be not that he explained or revealed some truths but because he deconstructed some of them and, doing so, gave us some new perspectives on life.  This ability to deconstruct conventional ideas made him notorious in the nineteenth century but makes him still interesting nowadays.

Many of Wilde's ideas still sound very familar in these postmodern days.  His gift of blowing up conventional ideas reminds us of Derrida's deconstruciotn theory.  When I had to choose my topic for my dissertation at the University of Gent (Belgium), I decided to investigate this link between Wilde's ideas and the postmodernist tradition.  I used The Picture of Dorian Gray as a key to enter Wilde's universe of ideas.  The results of this exploration can be found on this website.

If you have any comments, you can mail me.

Koen Van Cauwenberge

Click here for to my dissertation

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