Salome's Modernity Oscar Wilde and the Aesthetics of Transgression

by Petra Dierkes-Thrun

Salome's Modernity Oscar Wilde and the Aesthetics of Transgression Synopsis

Oscar Wilde's 1891 symbolist tragedy Salome has had a rich afterlife in literature, opera, dance, film, and popular culture. Salome's Modernity: Oscar Wilde and the Aesthetics of Transgression is the first comprehensive scholarly exploration of that extraordinary resonance that persists to the present. Petra Dierkes-Thrun positions Wilde as a founding figure of modernism and Salome as a key text in modern culture's preoccupation with erotic and aesthetic transgression, arguing that Wilde's Salome marks a major turning point from a dominant traditional cultural, moral, and religious outlook to a utopian aesthetic of erotic and artistic transgression. Wilde and Salome are seen to represent a bridge linking the philosophical and artistic projects of writers such as Mallarme, Pater, and Nietzsche to modernist and postmodernist literature and philosophy and our contemporary culture. Dierkes-Thrun addresses subsequent representations of Salome in a wide range of artistic productions of both high and popular culture through the works of Richard Strauss, Maud Allan, Alla Nazimova, Ken Russell, Suri Krishnamma, Robert Altman, Tom Robbins, and Nick Cave, among others.

Salome's Modernity Oscar Wilde and the Aesthetics of Transgression Press Reviews

In addition to the rhetorically and interpretatively compelling reading of the final scene of Salome, the book's core is lively and suggestive: the revisionary reading of Strauss; the detailed evocation of the toxicity surrounding Wilde and his work that continued through and past World War I, reinforced by reactionary xenophobia during the war; the linking of Allan and, especially, Nazimova with feminist and queer cultural politics; the reading of Nazimova's notable career through the combined lens of Ibsen and Wilde. These are significant contributions that later commentators on Wilde's play and its heritage in the modernist period and beyond will need to take into account. --Modern Drama -- (01/13/2013) This thorough, and thoroughly original, monograph is quite impressive ... because she explores the play from so many diverse angles, Dierkes-Thrun makes a book dedicated to one play engrossing. --Upstage -- (09/26/2012) Salome's Modernity stands as a fresh, valuable contribution to studies of Oscar Wilde. --Modernism/modernity --S. I. Salamensky, University of California, Los Angeles Modernism/modernity (01/21/2013)

Book Information

ISBN: 9780472117673
Publication date: 27th April 2011
Author: Petra Dierkes-Thrun
Publisher: The University of Michigan Press
Format: Hardback
Pagination: 322 pages
Categories: Literary studies: c 1800 to c 1900 , Literary studies: plays & playwrights,

About Petra Dierkes-Thrun

Petra Dierkes-Thrun is Lecturer in the Department of Comparative Literature at Stanford University and editor in chief of The Latchkey: Journal of New Woman Studies, a scholarly online journal dedicated to the figure of the New Woman in fin de siecle and modernist society and culture.

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