Taking its cue from Baudelaire’s important essay "The Painter of Modern Life," in which Baudelaire imagines the modern artist as a "man of the world," this collection of essays presents Oscar Wilde as a "man of the world" who eschewed provincial concerns, cultural conventions, and narrow national interests in favor of the wider world and other worlds—both real and imaginary, geographical and historical, physical and intellectual—which provided alternative sites for exploration and experience, often including alternative gender expression or sexual alterity. Wilde had an unlimited curiosity and a cosmopolitan spirit of inquiry that traveled widely across borders, ranging freely over space and time.  He entered easily and wholly into other countries, other cultures, other national literatures, other periods, other mythologies, other religions, other disciplines, and other modes of representation, and was able to fully inhabit and navigate them, quickly apprehending the conventions by which they operate. 

The fourteen essays in this volume offer fresh critical-theoretical and historical perspectives not just on key connections and aspects of Wilde’s oeuvre itself, but on the development of Wilde’s remarkable worldliness in dialogue with many other worlds: contemporary developments in art, science and culture, as well as with other national literatures and cultures.  Perhaps as a direct result of this cosmopolitan spirit, Wilde and Wilde’s works have been taken up across the globe, as the essays on Wilde’s reception in India, Japan and Hollywood illustrate. Many of the essays gathered here are based on groundbreaking archival research, including some never-seen-before illustrations. Together, they have the potential to open up important new comparative, transnational, and historical perspectives on Wilde that can shape and sharpen our future understanding of his work and impact.

chapter 1|15 pages

Wilde’s Other Worlds

An Introduction
ByMichael F. Davis, Petra Dierkes-Thrun

part I|68 pages

Inherited Worlds

chapter 2|23 pages

History as Seduction

Wilde and the Fascination of Heredity
ByJames Eli Adams

chapter 3|20 pages

Oscar Wilde’s American Forebears

A Genealogy of Form for Reading The Picture of Dorian Gray
BySean O’Toole

chapter 4|25 pages

Haunting “The Harlot’s House”

ByJamil Mustafa

part II|49 pages

Aesthetic Worlds

chapter 5|25 pages

Wilde’s Cosmos

Language, Citation, and Aesthetic Communities
ByMegan Becker-Leckrone

chapter 6|24 pages

Oscar Wilde’s Las Meninas

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Girl
ByMichael F. Davis

part III|64 pages

Mythical Worlds

chapter 7|22 pages

Salomé and Saint Sebastian

Modern Myths in Wilde and D’Annunzio
ByElisa Bizzotto

chapter 8|21 pages


Mournful Necrophilia in Wilde and Fernando Pessoa’s Antinous
ByKostas Boyiopoulos

chapter 9|21 pages

Wagner without Music

The Textual Rendering of Parsifal’s Pity in Oscar Wilde’s “The Young King”
ByYvonne Ivory

part IV|43 pages

Alternative Worlds

chapter 10|21 pages

“I am not a Catholic, I am simply a violent Papist”

Oscar Wilde’s Protestant “Romishness”
ByClaire Masurel-Murray

chapter 11|22 pages

Oscar Wilde, Rachilde, and the Mercure de France

ByPetra Dierkes-Thrun

part V|56 pages


chapter 12|25 pages

The Sexual Transfiguration of the Japanese Salomé, 1909–2009

ByMaho Hidaka

chapter 13|15 pages

The Other Love That Dared Not Speak Its Name

Wilde’s Jewish “Fans” in World War II-Era Cinema
ByMargaret D. Stetz

chapter 14|16 pages

Hospitality Divorced from the Home

The Cosmopolitan Idea(l) from Oscar Wilde to Satyajit Ray
ByJulia Prewitt Brown