Here, Oscar Wilde harnesses his famous wit to demolish the supposed boundary between art and criticism.
Subtitled Upon the Importance of Doing Nothing and Discussing Everything, the essay takes the form of a leisurely dialogue between two characters: Ernest, who insists upon Wilde’s own belief in art’s freedom from societal mandates and values, and a quizzical Gilbert.
Writing in 1891, Wilde foresaw that criticism would have an increasingly important role as the need to make sense of what we see increases with the complexities of modern life. It is only the fine perception and explication of beauty, Wilde suggests, that will allow us to create meaning, joy, empathy, and peace out of the chaos of facts and reality.
- Author: Oscar Wilde, Michael Bracewell (Contributions by)
- Publisher: Thames & Hudson Ltd
- Publication date: May 2019