Interpretation Risks (O. Wilde’s Success Markers in Historical Dynamics)




interpretation, literary biography, Oscar Wilde, epatage, Neil MacKenna


The focus of the proposed study is the analysis of the perception and interpretation of O. Wilde’s life and art in the historical dynamics with the accent on the modern period. The famous, cult writer of the end of the XIXth – the beginning of the XXth century has not lost his topicality and attractiveness nowadays due to certain turns in the social-cultural development of the new millennium. The impact of these turns and the society claims on the interpretation models are analyzed. Some representative examples of interpretation versions are given in comparison. Among them there are visualized variants of “The Picture of Dorian Gray” in famous movies, literary works of contemporary writers and literary biographies in which their authors create their own projections on the essence of O. Wilde’s life and creative art. A detailed analysis of Neil McKenna’s “The Secret Life of Oscar Wilde” (2004) is proposed. It is the latest sensational biography, in which the author opposes the conventional wisdom about the writer after Ellmann’s biography. MacKenna creates “a sexual odysseys”, focusing on O. Wilde’s sexual life which, according to biographer’s point of view, was the main reason and incentive of the writer’s creative art. One can’t but feel a certain risk of such an epatage, outrageous version which may be reclined in future because of its one vector property. But nevertheless MacKenna’s interpretation of O. Wilde’s life and art is updated by the society that feels the coincidence of its demands and claims with the biographer’s ones at the very this turn of its development.

Author Biography

Tetiana Potnitseva, Oles Honchar Dnipro National University

Foreign Literature Chair

Oles Honchar Dnipro National University

Gagarin avenue, 72, 49000, Dnipro, Ukraine


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How to Cite

Potnitseva, T. “Interpretation Risks (O. Wilde’s Success Markers in Historical Dynamics)”. Pitannâ lìteraturoznavstva, no. 106, Dec. 2022, pp. 118-29, doi:10.31861/pytlit2022.106.118.



Hermeneutics, Reception, Interpetation